For more recent news, click here

10 Oct 11 Johnnie Walker re-enters The IWSR's Elite Brands list at number one
After falling from last year's list Johnnie Walker was quick to recover from the previous year's losses: a massive volume increase of over 1.2m cases in 2010 saw the brand jump straight back up to take the top spot on this year's The IWSR's Elite Brands list.
Just 11 brands met the strict criteria of The IWSR's Elite Brands list this year, one more than last year. Jägermeister, once again the number two Elite Brand, managed to turn around a slight drop in volume in 2009; it gained over 170,000 cases in 2010 (...)
10 Oct 11


THE BenRiach Distillery Company Ltd. is delighted today (October 10) to announce UK EXCLUSIVE bottlings from two single casks - one from BenRiach and the other from its sister distillery at GlenDronach.

These limited release 1995 expressions, both bottled in August this year, were both matured in Pedro Ximinez sherry puncheons. These were originally used to store the characteristically sweet, full-bodied Spanish sherry that confers its distinctively rich and complex characteristics on the whisky.

The result in both cases is fruit-laden heaven!

First, the GlenDronach. From cask 4681, distilled in November 1995, this is a 15-year-old single malt bottled at cask strength - 56.2% vol.

Its striking appearance is cherry-wood and russet mahogany. On the nose, there is chocolate orange and stewed plum while the palate delivers chocolate, toffee, spiced fruits, figs, raisins and dates.

The cask out-turned 725 bottles, each of which is individually numbered.

Complementing this monster GlenDronach is an equally substantial offering from BenRiach. From cask 7164 distilled in May 1995, this is aged 16-years-old and bottled at a cask strength of 58.3% vol.

Its appearance is bright amber with a late autumnal glow. On the nose, bananas, citrus fruits and oregano while the palate brings melons, bananas and lychee.

The out-turn on the BenRiach was marginally smaller, at 695 bottles. Again, each bottle is hand-numbered.

Sales Director Alistair Walker said: "GlenDronach and BenRiach are both renowned for their idiosyncratic single cask bottlings, and we release a number of these each year. They have proven to be very popular, but with our 'batch' single cask releases being divided amongst all of our export markets as well as the UK, allocations can be quite tight. For that reason, we decided to select a couple of casks just for the UK to give our home-based retail clients the chance to get their hands on a reasonable quantity of each bottling."

09 Oct 11

Scot made millions making moonshine in Saudi Arabia - but he landed in torture cell
Oct 9 2011 Exclusive by Brian McIver, Sunday Mail

A BOOTLEGGER who was whipped and spent years in jail after making millions from Saudi moonshine has revealed the secrets of his double life.
Gordon Malloch worked by day as a chef in the Gulf but by night he was arranging massive illegal shipments of whisky into the alcohol-free Islamic state.
The black market booze was drunk in secret desert parties arranged for expats.
But his empire ended when Gordon found himself hanging from a tree, being tortured with electric shocks and sentenced to 480 lashes.
But as Perthshire-born Gordon gets ready to have his story told on television, he told the Sunday Mail that, despite being tortured, beaten and jailed for years, he wouldn't change a thing about his time in Saudi Arabia.
For six years, Gordon, 58, hid whisky and gin inside fake ­generators and even had an industrial-grade still stashed at home.
He was the go-to man for booze in the ­alcohol-free state – until he was grassed up by a royal aide.
Sentenced to more than three years in jail and 480 lashes, he was shocked to be shipped off to a filth-covered prison for his crimes until the British embassy secured his release 17 months later.
The Scot tells his story for the first time this week on the National Geographic Channel.
He said: "It took me about three weeks of living in Saudi Arabia to get started. I was a real entrepreneur because there wasn't any taste and quality before I arrived.
"I was nearly six years doing it and the reason I lasted so long is there was a lot of fake whisky and gin coming from ­Bulgaria, the kind people would go blind from. I never touched that, I always stayed with the genuine article.
"We held parties in the desert reached by motorbike, there was nothing we couldn't do, it was synonymous with the feel of the 80s.
"I have never had any regrets. I'm very nostalgic for those days –I made and spent two fortunes. You never think about what might happen because you never think they could catch you."
Gordon moved to Saudi in 1978 from Aviemore. He took a job in Riyadh running a ­catering operation, and realised he was in the ideal position.
Other expats either imported or brewed their own hooch, so he started making homemade wine.
As he got better at it, he made more and more for sale, and he ­realised that his job as a catering boss meant he could get ingredients ­without alerting suspicion. He was soon making hundreds of litres a week, charging £50 per ­container, making huge amounts of cash.
He also ran a £5000 still he kept in a secret room behind a fake wall in his villa.
The money afforded him lavish holidays and on one such break to Bahrain, he hooked up with some ­businessmen who were ­looking to bring named brands into Saudi.
He said: "These guys had the capital to buy up 400 to 600 cases at a time and I had the idea of bringing it into the country in ­generators. I was ­shipping out a quarter of a million dollars at a time."
The profits meant he bought a 1977 Ferrari to keep back home in Scotland, while he was living the life of a prince in Riyadh.
Fearing he was ­pushing his luck, he made an exit plan – but as he was preparing his last delivery, he was sold out by a customer's aide.
The cops, who thought if he was smuggling booze he could also be smuggling guns, tortured him.
He said: "I was in a holding cell for two days and they tied me up in a tree. They hit my feet. They cattle ­prodded me. I was wearing shackles on my feet stamped, 'Made in Birmingham'.
"After a couple of days I got my sentence on a piece of paper. Now don't get me wrong, I was guilty but I expected to stand up in court and accept a sentence, not to find out I had just been fined 120 grand, given three-and-a-half years and 480 lashes.
"It took a while to sink in. The prison was terrible. It stank to high heaven."
After 17 months of political wrangling, Gordon was offered freedom.
He said: "I was transferred to Kilo 19, a holding facility. It was hell on earth. You had to walk through excrement to take a pee and there were maggots up the toilet wall.
"All I remember is boarding a BA flight to London, first class. I asked the stewardess for some hand cream, a glass of port and some Stilton. I was going home."

24 Sep 11

New Releases from Karuizawa annouced by La Maison Du Whisky for the Whisky Live Paris 2011:

Karuizawa 1999 Batch #1 59€
Karuizawa 1999 C#867 105€
Karuizawa 1990 C#679 155€
Karuizawa 27yo Multivintage 1981 / 1982 / 1983 / 1984 230€
Karuizawa 1981 C#6207 250€
Karuizawa 1981 C#2634 250€
Karuizawa 1981 C#6405 250€
Karuizawa 1981 C#7924 250€
Karuizawa 1981 C#8309 250€
Karuizawa 1972 C#7038 390€
Karuizawa 1970 C#1985 450€

22 Sep 11


Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard is adding to its collection of Single Pot Still Whiskeys of Midleton* this weekend at Whisky Live Paris**, with the launch of Redbreast 12 Year Old Cask Strength – the portfolio's first permanent cask strength bottling. This latest addition to the Redbreast range forms part of the company's ongoing commitment to promote the provenance and quality of this unique Irish whiskey style.

Produced at Midleton Distillery, Redbreast 12 Year Old Cask Strength is Redbreast in its natural full-flavoured state – straight from the cask, non-chill filtered and without the addition of water. Bottled at 57.7% ABV, this first batch will be available from September 2011 in Ireland, France and Germany and in the US from February next year.

Brendan Buckley, Global Category Development Director for Irish whiskey at Irish Distillers, said: "Over the years, we've had great encouragement from whiskey enthusiasts and fans of the renowned Redbreast range to launch a cask strength expression, and we're delighted to be finally releasing this incredible single pot still whiskey in response. It comes during what has been an exciting year for the range, having recently undergone a packaging revamp to freshen it up and reinforce its quality cues. We are confident that this latest development will be enthusiastically received by Redbreast fans around the world."

Barry Crockett, Master Distiller at Midleton Distillery, added: "This is a very special single pot still whiskey, full of dried fruit flavours, with an exceedingly long finish. It is the perfect addition to the Redbreast range – representing the expression in its purest state. I'm confident that this will become the whiskey that all whiskey lovers will want to own and savour – myself included!"

Redbreast represents a style of whiskey that is unique to Ireland in general and to Midleton Distillery in particular. Single pot still whiskey is made from a mash of malted and unmalted barley, which is then distilled in traditional copper pot stills. Redbreast 12 Year Old Cask Strength, and all single pot still whiskeys from Midleton, is triple distilled.

19 Sep 11


Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard has launched an informative new website to support its growing portfolio of single pot still Irish whiskeys. Offering insight into the rich history and heritage of the unique whiskey style, features a series of insightful films created exclusively in conjunction with renowned Irish whiskey writer and historian, Peter Mulryan.

Bringing to life the story of one of Mulryan's greatest passions, the six films chronicle the intriguing history of Ireland's whiskey tradition and feature some of the central figures in the history of single pot still whiskey, including John C Ryan – a seventh generation Distiller and the last member of the Powers family to work for Irish Distillers – and Robert Mitchell, of Mitchell & Sons whiskey bonders, also representing the seventh generation of his family.

The films explore each of the single pot still whiskey brands within Irish Distillers' portfolio, including Redbreast, Green Spot, Powers and Midleton, shedding light on the origins and unique personality of each brand in a relaxed style that is guaranteed to appeal to both the whiskey enthusiast and the casual browser.

The website also features a history section that details the story of Irish whiskey through the years from 500 AD to today; information on Midleton Distillery, the home of Irish pot still whiskey; a section on each of the four brands which make up the 'Single Pot Still Whiskeys of Midleton' range; and an online shop, where visitors can purchase products. Fans of single pot still Irish whiskey can sign up to the website's members section, entitled 'The Stillhouse' to receive news updates, exclusive content as well as a members' welcome pack.

Brendan Buckley, Global Category Development Director for Irish whiskey at Irish Distillers, said: "With the recent addition of Powers John's Lane and Midleton Barry Crockett Legacy to our portfolio of single pot still whiskeys, and with the renewed global interest in the category, it was important for us to create a website that visitors will find both interesting and educational. By joining forces with Peter Mulryan, we have been able to offer quality content that perfectly captures the true story of what was once the world's most popular style of whiskey. Additionally, we can safeguard the history and heritage of single pot still whiskey on behalf of the Irish whiskey industry."

Single Pot Still whiskey is unique to Ireland, and in particular Midleton, Co. Cork. Made from a mash of malted and unmalted barley that is then triple distilled in traditional copper pot stills, this style of whiskey is renowned for its full, complex flavours and smooth, creamy mouth feel.

The launch of will be followed by new websites for Redbreast, Green Spot, Powers and Midleton.

19 Sep 11

Whisky Exports Drive Portfolio Success

Burn Stewart Distillers, producers of Scottish Leader, Black Bottle, Bunnahabhain, Tobermory, Deanston and Ledaig whiskies, have announced its financial results for the year ended 31st December 2010. 

The main highlights of the announcement are:

Strong performance by all brands in their key markets

Gross profit £18.3m (2009: £17.2m)

Net profit  £3.7m (2009: £1.2m)

The company which employs 250 people across its distilling, blending, bottling, commercial and administration activities in the UK, and sales administration internationally has seen continued growth across its core brands with particularly strong performances in Taiwan, South Africa and the UK.

The key drivers for this success include the 13% growth of flagship brand Scottish Leader, coupled with the growth of Scottish Leader’s market share across all key markets.   Overall, cased export revenue is also on the increase - achieving 11% growth on 2009 with notable success in Taiwan, US, and Baltics.

The company continues to invest in capital expenditure, allocating £0.4m in 2010, taking the investment for the last 3 years to £2.4m.  The company has also invested in a new leadership staff training programme which has reached over 20% of the company’s workforce. Over the next three years a multi million pound capital investment programme is planned to further enhance the capability of the business. Included in this plan, is the creation of a new visitor centre at Deanston Distillery, opening during Spring 2012, which aims to significantly enhance the retail and consumer experience of the brand. 

The entire malt portfolio - Bunnahabhain, Tobermory, Deanston and Ledaig whiskies - enjoyed an extremely successful re-pack in 2010 with new packaging, labelling and bottle design.  Furthermore, presenting un-chill filtered malts creates exciting opportunities to position the malt portfolio as niche players in the industry.  Future plans for the malt portfolio include further tapping into growing markets in Taiwan, USA and Europe, coupled with a strong investment focus on Russia.

Markets providing the key focus for Scottish Leader will be Taiwan, South Africa and The Baltics.  In addition, the flagship brand will also be looking to build upon and strengthen existing distribution partnerships in the Ukraine, Poland and Russia to allow for further penetration into these emerging markets, and providing the backbone for growth

The company’s portfolio of brands was strengthened in 2010 when a partnership deal with Angostura Holdings Ltd was signed. The deal announced that Burn Stewart Distillers would be responsible for distribution and marketing of the world renowned Aromatic Bitters and premium rum range across EMEA. This addition to the company portfolio compliments future plans for growth within the Scotch market and a growing rum category.

Commenting on the results, Fraser Thornton, Managing Director, said:

“It is very pleasing to note the sustained improvement in the financial performance of the company. Our primary focus is to develop and grow the strong portfolio of brands we have and, in so doing, continue to consolidate the relationships we enjoy with key retail partners, selected overseas bulk customers and our global distributor network.  We have enjoyed another year of growth and have opened up new markets as well as continuing to build our brands in existing markets. Our bold move to un-chill filtered malts has excited our consumers and the trade and has allowed us to provide a niche offering to those consumers who want to explore.  The investment at Deanston will allow us to develop a new brand experience for consumers and invest in the heritage of the Deanston brand. We believe the future is very positive for the Scotch Whisky Industry and we look forward to continued growth across our entire brand portfolio.’

17 Sep 11

As part of the Whisky Exchange Whisky Show (07-08 October 2011), several new products have been annouced last week. For full details, click here

Elements of Islay:
Pe5 (tbc)

The Whisky Exchange / Speciality Drinks:
Bowmore 1993 Masterpiece
Lochside 1964 Single Blend
Karuizawa 1981
Glen Garioch 1971 (OB for TWE)

The Whisky Trail:
Caol Ila 1999
Macallan 1990
Single Malts of Scotland:
Clynelish 1972
Clynelish 1982
Ardmore 1992
Aberlour 1990

The Whisky Show bottlings:
Glenallachie 1974
Springbank 1999
Port Ellen 1983
Brora 30yo
Longmorn 18yo
Caol Ila 17yo

15 Sep 11

Diageo's prolific collection of single malt Scotch whiskies, the Classic Malts Selection™, is augmented every year by the issue of a small portfolio of limited edition single malts, under the heading of Special Releases.

Familiar distilleries are often present, but in unusual expression or ages. Other bottles are drawn from the precious and dwindling stocks of distilleries that ceased production last century. Most are bottled at natural cask strength and all without chill filtration. There are eight Special Releases this year; five are from closed distilleries; and the whole production is less than 60,000 bottles.

As Diageo's Nick Morgan explains:

"We set out to include one or two really unexpected bottlings in the 2011 Special Releases collection. Very few whisky connoisseurs – possible none at all – will ever have encountered anything like the 20 year old glorious Port Dundas™ single grain whisky that we are offering this year, and since the distillery closed two years ago, it'll be a rare experience for those who who get to try it now.

"By contrast, the 25 year old Knockando™ from first-fill ex-sherry casks might astonish those who thought they know this malt: this bottling is rich, deep-flavoured and very complex. The Glenury Royal™ at 40 years old is a very venerable (and inevitably expensive) bottling, an old-style after-dinner experience; but it shows no fatigue and is packed with flavour. Lovers of the Lowland style will be charmed by the Rosebank™ 21 year old."

Older & Rarer

As in previous years, Brora™ and Port Ellen™ will be a focus for committed devotees of these irreplaceable single malts.

The Brora 32 year old is in a limited edition of only 1,404 bottles: compare the first release in this series, in 2002, which ran to 3,000 bottles.

The Port Ellen, also at 32 years old, comes in an edition of 2,988 bottles (compared with 12,000 bottles in 2002!). Rarer and older as the years go by, both are priced at £300 (UK RRSP).

Brora 32 Year Old
ABV 54.7%
Annual allocation has extended availability of this irreplaceable malt; stocks now depleted.
From whiskies at least 32 years old, aged in refill American Oak & refill European Oak casks
Only 1,500 individually numbered bottles worldwide.
UK RRSP £300 per bottle.

Caol Ila Unpeated 12 Year Old 1999
ABV 64%
From 1st fill ex-bourbon American Oak casks filled in 1999.
Fewer than 6,000 bottles worldwide.
UK RRSP £55 per bottle.

Glenury Royal 40 Year Old 1970
ABV to be announced
From American Oak refill casks filled in 1970.
Only 1,404 bottles worldwide.
UK RRSP £525 per bottle.

Knockando 25 Year Old 1985
ABV 43.0%
From first fill ex-sherry European Oak casks.
Fewer than 4,500 individually numbered bottles worldwide.
UK RRSP £135.

Lagavulin 12 Year Old
ABV 57.5%
Vatted from refill American Oak casks, each at least 12 years old.
UK RRSP £63 per bottle

Port Dundas 20 year old 1990
ABV 57.4%
Liquid from three different casks – distilled in 1990, aged three years in refill, then in equal parts aged for 17 more years in either new American Oak Bodega, new European Oak Charred or first fill ex-Bourbon American Oak.
Just 1,920 individually numbered bottles worldwide.
UK RRSP £110.

Port Ellen 32 Year Old 1978
ABV 53.9%
Just 2,988 individually numbered bottles available world-wide.
UK RRSP £300 per bottle.

Rosebank 21 Year Old 1990
ABV 53.8%
From refill American Oak and refill European Oak casks.
Only 5,886 numbered bottles worldwide.
UK RRSP £160 per bottle.


The 10 Year Struggle
WMD, the CIA, Ugly Betty, Flying Health & Safety Inspectors, Yellow
Submarines and Perilous Whisky, just a few of the unusual events that befell
Bruichladdich distillery over the decade since it was resurrected.
Now, against considerable odds, the first ten year old whisky distilled by the
men who brought Bruichladdich Distillery back from from oblivion, has gone
on sale.
A weekend of celebrations was held for a select group of shareholders,
distributors, barley farmers and international guests who gathered on a gale
beaten Islay for a luncheon, a presentation of the provocative new website
and an emotionally charged ceremony to acknowledge the first bottles
coming off the bottling line.
1000 bottles of The Laddie 10, sporting a commemorative "I was there!" back
label (for this one day only) sold out in three hours to a scrum of enthusiastic
islanders and whisky fans.
Sir John Mactaggart Bt., Bruichladdich chairman, revealed in an defiantly
upbeat speech, that there were top whisky industry players who warned him
that the project was doomed to fail. But they underestimated the 'passion and
reason' of the Bruichladdich set up.
He went on to highlight the successes, trials and tribulations of the decade
which included being spied on by the CIA looking for WMDs, liberating Ugly
Betty still, fuelling race cars with X4, flying health & safety inspectors, and lost
Royal Navy yellow submarines.

The coming of age is a landmark moment for the company that set out in
2001 to renovate the old Victorian distillery which had been closed down in
1994, having only operated part time for a decade before that.
Managing Director Mark Reynier, said "It's a very proud and highly emotional
moment for all of us. This is the first spirit we distilled, once we got it all going
again. It's not been easy. This is the hard-won fruit of 10 years of unrelenting
blood, sweat and tears by the whole team."
The Laddie 10, a dram created by whisky legend Jim Mcewan, is designed to
show off the timeless, Bruichladdich qualities of elegance, balance, purity and
fruit, with that famous sea breeze tang.
The company has a reputation for the unconventional, particularly the
packaging, and the Laddie 10 in its bright, aqua livery is no different.
Reynier explains: "As progressive Hebridean distillers, we have a different
way of doing things to the rest of the industry - it's why we are still here - and
that includes modern packaging."
"We don't do flags, crests, illustrations, highland glens; nor engravings, Celtic
typefaces, Gaelic scrolls, or Monarch of the Glen. We do Bruichladdich."

Retail price for Laddie 10: £33

13 Sep 11 Johnnie Walker tops both The IWSR's ranking of the top 100 spirits brands in travel retail and the top 25 growth brands list.
Travel retail sales of Johnnie Walker grew by nearly 300,000 nine-litre cases in 2010, extending its lead over second-largest travel retail brand, Absolut, and gaining more than second largest-growing brand, Chivas Regal.
The newest Johnnie Walker variant, Double Black, made a significant contribution to the brand's strong performance last year, generating an additional 119,000 cases in 2010. Sales of The John Walker more than doubled in 2010, while volumes of Johnnie Walker Blue, Green and Gold also grew strongly.
The IWSR Top 25 Travel Retail Growth Brands list ranks travel retail spirits brands by volume change from 2009 to 2010; the Top 100 Travel Retail Brands list ranks the top-selling spirits by volumes sold in 2010.
Chivas Regal added more than 200,000 cases in 2010, while Absolut, Ballantine's and Jack Daniel's each increased volumes by more than 100,000 cases.
Courvoisier was the fastest-growing brand among the top 25 growth brands, increasing sales by 62%. Both Courvoisier and rival Cognac brand Hennessy added almost 90,000 cases each in 2010.
The top 25 growth brands ranking is heavily dominated by the leading multinational suppliers. Pernod Ricard supplies seven of the top 25 growth brands, Diageo and Beam Global four each, Bacardi-Martini three, Brown-Forman two, and LVMH and William Grant one apiece. Belvédère's Danzka and Roust's Russian Standard also feature.
Diageo have a total of 17 brands in the Top 100 Travel Retail Spirits Brands list, closely followed by Pernod Ricard with 16. Source:
25 Aug 11
  • Glenglassaugh distillery’s “Chosen Few” launches
  • Visitor centre refurbishment under way

Glenglassaugh distillery at Portsoy on the picturesque Moray firth coast proudly announce the release of the first bottling from their “Chosen Few” series of single cask expressions. The Chosen Few series, explains Ronnie Routledge, Customer Account Manager for Glenglassaugh, allowed our team, based here at the distillery, the opportunity to sample various casks from our small portfolio to discover his or her favourite cask of Glenglassaugh Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky and get the once-in-a-lifetime experience of having it bottled with their own name on the label.

The team of ten have each given an indication of which whisky they would like to bottle and we will release these over the next 2 – 3 years. Some of them are carefully watching casks of spirit which we distilled and laid down after re-opening the distillery in November 2008 and anxiously wait for them to mature into whisky, while others prefer the greatly aged Glenglassaugh whiskies. “I was very privileged to be asked to choose the first release which is one of the finest single malts I have ever tasted and I’ve tried an awful lot”, says Routledge who is well known in the whisky industry, is a “Keeper of the Quaich” and ex whisky judge. “This particular expression delivers everything I look for in well-balanced single malts: complexity, depth, tropical fruit in abundance, chocolate and good sherry character, balanced perfectly with oak spice”.

This very limited expression of only 654 bottles is from a 1976 vintage sherry butt, bottled at 35 years old at a natural strength of 49.6% abv and is available through all good whisky stockists with a RRP of £299.99. “It was quite an honour and privilege to be presented with bottle number # 2 from the release, it almost felt like a lifetime achievement award” said Routledge.

The team at Glenglassaugh are also busy renovating their new dedicated visitor centre which they are determined to open before the end of 2011 to coincide with the release of their very first single malt, distilled since the new owners took over in 2008 after a closed spell of 22 years. “Distillery tours at the moment are by appointment only so it will be great to have proper facilities in place for the many visitors who make a pilgrimage to Glenglassaugh and expand on what we are currently offering”, explains Stuart Nickerson, MD for Glenglassaugh distillery. “The Banffshire region as a whole will benefit from Glenglassaugh’s visitor centre and attract thousands of tourists into the area each year”.

Glenglassaugh has a range of whisky available from 26 years of age to a 45 year old and more information on these and how to purchase them as well as your very own 50 litre Octave cask can be found on the distillery web site .


SPEYSIDE'S BenRiach Distillery is delighted to announce its most exclusive bottling ever.

Only forty bottles of this exquisite 32-year old single malt will be available, making this an ultra-rare BenRiach expression.

The bottling follows the discovery of an unusual "Firkin" cask at the Elgin distillery.

BenRiach's Managing Director Billy Walker takes up the story: "It's always exciting to discover exceptionally rare and unique casks in our warehouses, and BenRiach has more than its fair share!

"Upon unearthing this Firkin, we knew we had found something truly extraordinary and sublime which will delight even the most demanding of BenRiach whisky aficionados."

Mr Walker explained Firkin casks were traditionally used for the maturation of fine ale and the name is derived from the Middle Dutch word "vierdekijn", meaning 'fourth' - in other words, a quarter of a full-size barrel.

"Because a Firkin's size is smaller than that of a standard barrel, there's a greater surface to liquid ratio when the spirit undergoes maturation, and this imparts a more intense, fuller flavour," he added.

"This cask, number 6337, is one of the only two Firkins in our possession. Distilled and filled to cask on June 26, 1978, and bottled at 40.1% earlier this year, the style of the whisky is classic Speyside. Due to the size of the cask, and the age of the whisky, it has generated only forty bottles, so it's bound to become a much sought-after collector's item."

The packaging has been designed to reflect the super-premium nature of the whisky, with the bottle silk-screened and the closure sealed via a wax dip, all of which is housed in a beautiful hand-crafted wooden box.

The forty bottles will be available from September. Price is not yet available.
24 Aug 11

Diageo Speical Releases for 2011 have been annouced (

Rosebank Original Bottling 21 years old 53,3% € 179,99
Glenury Royal Original Bottling 40 years old € 649,00
Lagavulin Original Bottling 12 years old 57,5% € 69,99
Knockando Original Bottling 25 years old 46% € 159,99
Port Dundas Original Bottling 20 years old 57,4% € 129,99
Caol Ila Unpeated Orig. Bottling 12 years old 64% € 59,99

A Port Ellen and a Brora should complete the list.


24 Aug 11

BenRiach batch 8

1971, July 2011, 40YO, cask 1947, Hogshead, Classic Speyside
1972, July 2011, 39YO, cask 802, Hogshead, Classic Speyside
1976, July 2011, 34YO, cask 6942, Butt, Classic Speyside
1977, July 2011, 34YO, cask 1034, Pedro Ximinez Hogshead, PX Sherry Finish
1978, July 2011, 32YO, cask 4387, Virgin Oak Hogshead, Virgin American Oak Finish
1979, July 2011, 31YO, cask 11195, Bourbon Barrel, Peated
1980, July 2011, 31YO, cask 2531, Virgin Oak Barrel, Virgin American Oak Finish
1984, July 2011, 26YO, cask 7193, Virgin Oak Hogshead, Peated / Virgin American Oak Finish
1989, July 2011, 22YO, cask 4813, Sauternes Hogshead, Sauternes Finish
1989, July 2011, 22YO, cask 5620, Virgin Oak Hogshead, Virgin American Oak Finish
1992, July 2011, 19YO, cask 972, Tawny Port Hogshead, Tawny Port Finish
1993, July 2011, 18YO, cask 7415, Barolo Hogshead, Barolo Finish

GlenDronach new batch

1971, July 2011, 40YO, cask 1436, Pedro Ximinez Sherry Puncheon
1972, July 2011, 39YO, cask 712, Oloroso Sherry Butt
1989, July 2011, 21YO, cask 2917, Pedro Ximinez Sherry Puncheon
1990, July 2011, 20YO, cask 1032, Pedro Ximinez Sherry Puncheon
1992, July 2011, 19YO, cask 161, Oloroso Sherry Butt
1994, July 2011, 17YO, cask 97, Oloroso Sherry Butt

15 Aug 11


The entire remaining inventory of Mercian's Karuizawa Distillery has been acquired on behalf of Number One Drinks by an Asian-based company. International importer and distributor of Japanese malt whisky, Number One Drinks Company, has handled worldwide sales of Karuizawa single casks since 2006 and has helped raise the profile of Japanese single malts internationally, especially with the help of distributors in the key markets of Taiwan, France, UK and Sweden.

Of the 12 Gold Medals awarded by the Malt Maniacs in 2010, four were for whiskies sourced by Number One Drinks (including three Karuizawas) and the Best Japanese Whisky in Jim Murray's Whisky Bible 2011 was a 1967 single cask from Karuizawa.

Tokyo-based David Croll, Managing Director (Asia) of Number One Drinks, states: "The sherry-matured, rich and complex single malt of Karuizawa was an undiscovered jewel. We have taken great pleasure in introducing the whisky to enthusiasts throughout the world. This acquisition will give greater flexibility in terms of what we release when and the possibility of launching a private cask scheme."

As well as bottling the iconic Vintage Series at Karuizawa Distillery, the acquisition will see Number One Drinks working more closely with Ichiro Akuto as casks will be moved to a new warehouse at Chichibu Distillery. Number One Drinks is planning a global launch of the eagerly-awaited Chichibu three year old in September of this year, with attendance at Whisky Live Taipei, Whisky Live Paris, the Stockholm Beer & Whisky Festival and London's Whisky Show (The Whisky Exchange).

Marcin Miller, Managing Director (Europe) of Number One Drinks, observes: "As well as the release of Chichibu 'The First' and the on-going bottling of the Vintage Series single casks from Karuizawa, we are looking to release an 11-year-old single malt at 46% from Karuizawa. These are exciting times for fans of Japanese single malt whisky."

15 Jul 11

Fife whisky distillery evacuated after chemical spill
Workers have been evacuated from a distillery as firefighters deal with a nitric acid spill at the site.
They were called to Diageo's Cameronbridge Distillery in Fife after a leak from a 28,000-litre tank.

Diageo said the plant has been safely shut down while emergency services tackle the incident.

Nearby residents have been advised to keep their ADVERTISEMENT

doors and windows closed as a precaution.

A chemical tanker from Glasgow has been sent to the site to pump out the affected area.

Fife Fire and Rescue Service said the alarm was raised at around 5.30am and three fire engines and a fire service decontamination unit were sent to the grain distillery, near Windygates.

A Diageo spokesman said: "There has been a chemical leak at our site in Cameronbridge, Fife, this morning caused by a leak in a process storage tank.

"No one has been injured and the spillage is being contained safely with no environmental impact.

"As a precaution all employees and contractors on site have been evacuated and as a safety measure residents in the immediate vicinity have been advised to keep their windows and doors closed."

Diageo later said that the leak has been stopped and that they are working closely with emergency services to resolve the issue.

The spokesman said: "We are now entering the clean up phase to safely remove the chemical spillage, estimated at 10,000 litres, which is an acid-based cleaning product widely used in the food and beverage industries.

03 Aug 11

India leads the way in The IWSR's fastest-growing spirits brands list
The top five fastest-growing spirits brands in volume terms are Indian and all are sold almost exclusively in their domestic market, according the The IWSR's fastest growth spirits brands list, published in the August issue of The IWSR Magazine.

ABD's Officer's Choice whisky tops the list, closely followed by UB India's McDowell's brandy; both brands grew by more than 2.9m nine-litre cases in 2010. UB India is the leading producer in India and owns four of the five largest growth brands and eight brands in total in the top 25. The continued growth in India is attributed to its population growth, its increasingly important status in the world economy, and the consequences this has had on personal wealth.

Ten whiskies feature in the top 25 largest growth spirits brands, eight of which count India as its lead market. The leading market for Diageo's Johnnie Walker, ranked 14th in the list, is duty free/travel retail, although at just 11% of its total sales Johnnie Walker is the most international brand featured in the top 25. Suntory whisky, whose main market is Japan, also features in the top 25 (...).

Johnnie Walker is selling 15,543.1* '0009 liters cases while Officer's choice 15,264.5 *'0009 liters cases. Source: htp://

26 Jul 11

Scotch whisky has become the first foreign product in Turkey to receive geographical protection.

The Scotch Whisky Association said, following its application, the drink had been granted "geographical indication of origin" (GI) status.

The status helps in the battle against fake whisky and formally recognises the drink as a product that can only be made in Scotland.

Alan Park, legal adviser at the association, said: "It's a breakthrough for the industry that Scotch whisky has become the first foreign product GI to be registered in Turkey where there are around 150 domestic GIs.

"There is a huge demand for Scotch whisky from discerning Turkish consumers and from tourists visiting the country. It is important that they have confidence in the quality and integrity of what they are buying.

"The GI protection not only protects the name Scotch whisky but also helps to protect against other misleading elements, including images of pipers and the Highlands on labels, for example."

The association applied for the status in Turkey in June 2008.

Scotch whisky has GI registration in India, China, Vietnam and Thailand and is protected in Europe. Source:

23 Jul 11

By Keyan Milanian,
DEADLY chemicals used for anti-freeze are in fake branded booze flooding the country.

Hundreds of licensed premises could be selling the counterfeit alcohol, which can cause blindness, liver failure or even death.

The chemicals, which are also used in cleaning fluids, are in pirated versions of top brands.

Hospitals are seeing an increasing number of patients who believe they have fallen ill from spiked drinks but have actually drunk the fake brands.

Consultant Vikas Sodiwala, from Lincoln County Hospital, warned: "Drinking this could lead to liver and kidney failure and ultimately death."

Top brands faked include The Famous Grouse whisky and Foster's lager. The bottles and cans are so well duplicated it is almost impossible to tell the difference.

In March, Trading Standards officers and police raided three stores in Boston, Lincs, and found fake Smirnoff vodka.

And only last week, five men were killed when an illegal vodka distillery exploded in the town.

Police say the hooch is being made by organised crime syndicates.

The Customs said: "Criminal gangs deliberately spread out their distribution and sales networks to disguise their activities by duping the public into believing it is a 'small, local fiddle' and not the bigger international fraud across Europe and beyond that it really is."

Trading Standards officer Linda Plested added: "It's a growing problem which we are getting more and more intelligence about.

"But the real problem is you don't know what's in this booze."

Although fake brands are difficult to spot, warning signs include spelling mistakes and different amounts of booze in each bottle. There can also be an odour similar to nail polish remover.

21 Jul 11

Some future releases to come over the next days or months from the distillery owners (OB):

- Ardbeg Alligator
- Arran 12 ans Cask Strength
- Aberlour 12 YO Unchillfiltered
- Auchentoshan 1975 OB, 58%, 501 bottles
- Auchentoshan 1999 Bordeaux cask 58%
- Balblair 2001
- BenRiach Firking
- Bowmore Tempest batch 3, 55.6%
- Bowmore 1982, 47.3%, 501 bottles
- Dalmore Astrum 40yo 42%, 500 bottles
- Diageo Special Releases 2011 (Lagavulin 12 YO CS, ...)
- GlenDronach 21 YO
_GlenDronach Single Cask batch 5
- Glen Garioch 1986
- Glenmorangie Pride 1981 56.7%
- Kilchoman 5 YO Boubon matured
- Kilchoman 5 YO Sherry matured
- Macallan Master's Edition
- Macallan Director's Edition
- Machrie Moor 2nd edition
- Hakushu Bourbon Cask 48.2%
- Miyagikyo 1988 for LMDW
- Nikka Coffey Grain 1997
- Yamazaki Bourbon Cask 48.2%
- Yoichi Heavy Peat

17 Jul 11

Whisky distilleries urged to take the train
By John Ross
GOING on the wagon could have a new meaning for Scotland's whisky industry - with moves to transfer road freight onto the railways.
A new report calls for fresh investment to help shift the valuable cargo from lorries, particularly in the Highlands where 77 of Scotland's 99 malt whisky distilleries are located.

A study for transport partnership Hitrans estimates that whisky production generates more than 137,000 goods vehicle trips a year - 377 a day - on the A95 and A941 roads in Speyside.Another 47,000 trips a year - 129 a day - occur on the A9 south of Aviemore, a total of 184,000 countrywide.

Whisky contributes £2.7 billion to Scotland's economy and supports about 35,000 jobs.

A 10 per cent growth in production would result in a further 19,000 goods vehicles a year on Highlands and Islands roads.

Hitrans says moving whisky onto the railways could reduce road traffic and help the industry save on fuel costs and cut its carbon footprint. It also suggests that the industry's reliance on roads could hold back growth in future.

It has been estimated that 11 per cent of the whisky industry's carbon emissions come from distribution. The report says while there is willingness from key players to consider the move to the railways, it would not be straightforward.

Due to the volumes required, there is a requirement for critical mass before rail becomes feasible. This would need the whole industry, or at least a number of major players, to get behind any proposals.

The report adds: "Given the geographical dispersion, volumes of movements and the current lack of alternative modes, the industry's reliance on the road network is understandable.

"This reliance could lead to constraints for future growth of the industry both in the short and long-term futures."

Frank Roach, Hitrans' partnership manager, said shifting from road to rail is in line with EC policy to reduce transport greenhouse gases by 60 per cent by 2050, with 30 per cent of road traffic shifting to rail and sea by 2030.

"Although it's been spoken about in the past, this is the first step towards making something happen."

In its environmental strategy report in 2009, the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) said it aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.It pledged that by 2020 it will ensure that 20 per cent of the industry's primary energy requirements will be derived from non-fossil fuel sources, with a target of 80 per cent by 2050.

A SWA spokeswoman said: "We have been looking at the viability of shifting some whisky-related freight from road to rail and the industry recognises the environmental benefits identified by Hitrans."

08 Jul 11


Scotch Whisky distilleries and visitor centres give a much-needed boost to the economy, the

job market and bring growing numbers of international tourists to Scotland, according to a survey published today.

The Scotch Whisky and Tourism report commissioned by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) from 4-consulting also identified the “distillery effect” which sees tourism and cultural clusters forming in production areas. Scotch Whisky export growth is encouraging new tourists from countries which are discovering a taste for Scotch to come to Scotland. Such visitors tend to spend more while visiting Scotland.

The report reveals that visitor centres and distilleries add £30.4 million in value to the economy and provide 640 jobs – direct and indirect. The global impact of Scotch Whisky tourism is clear as nine out of ten (86.1%) distillery visitors last year came from outside Scotland, with nearly two thirds (62.3%) from outside the UK.

Campbell Evans, SWA Director of Government and Consumer Affairs, said: “Scotch Whisky and tourism can be seen as the perfect blend and complement one another. Our survey shows the scale of the economic impact of Scotch Whisky and how exports can help drive up tourism. Spending by tourists, and the jobs created as a result, is injecting new money into the Scottish economy.”

To maximise the link between Scotch Whisky and tourism, the industry, hospitality sector and public agencies created the Scotch Whisky Embassy network in 2003.  Comprising 90 hotels, golf courses, bars and restaurants which meet specific quality criteria, the network added £43.2m to the economy and created almost 1,400 jobs. Embassy network members received just under 10.4m visits last year, with 43% coming from outside Scotland.
The wider economic impact of Scotch Whisky tourism is clear from analysing the source of
tourists and its relationship to Scotch Whisky exports. For example, China represents one of
the fastest growing tourist markets for Scotland and Whisky was the Scottish produce most
commonly cited among potential Chinese tourists.
On average, every £100 million of Scotch Whisky exports are associated with £20.6m of direct tourism spending. With Scotch Whisky exports of more than £3bn, it is estimated that the industry is associated with around £640m of direct tourism. After accounting for multiplier effects, the overall impact it likely to exceed £1 billion each year.
Mr Evans said: “We’ve found countries which are the biggest export markets for Scotch Whisky tend to spend more on tourism in Scotland. At the same time, in countries where the number of tourists to Scotland increases we see a willingness to pay more for a bottle of Scotch Whisky. Scotch Whisky is an important part of Scottish culture and identity and has a wide role to play in attracting overseas tourism.”

05 Jul 11

Grant's is world's third largest Scotch whisky by retail value news

Grant's, Scotland's oldest family-run blended scotch whisky, has been ranked by International Wine and Spirits Research (IWSR) as the world's number three Scotch whisky in retail value, marking a milestone in the family-owned firm's 124-year history.

Over the last five years, Grant's claims to have consistently grown ahead of the category, achieving in 2010 worldwide sales of 4.8 million cases and retail value of over $1 billion.

In 2008, William Grant & Sons, independent, family-owned distillers, announced a £35 million global investment package, comprising new packaging, a global marketing campaign and investment in the company's production facilities in Girvan, Scotland.

The brand, which includes Ale and Sherry Cask Editions as well as aged 12, 18 and ultra- premium 25yo variants, has continued to post rapid growth in emerging whisky markets such as Russia and established markets such as France and the UK.

Grant's global brand director Kate Athanasi commented: ''This is a very exciting time for Grant's. Just over a hundred years ago William Grant's son-in-law first took his family's blended Scotch to the world. Today we're the top selling family blend thanks to our multi award-winning whisky and our rich family heritage, which resonates with whisky drinkers across the globe.''

The Grant's story started when founder William Grant's distillery produced its first spirit in 1887.

Today, crafted by master blender Brian Kinsman, Grant's is the oldest family-owned blend in Scotland.

04 Jul 11

The Edrington Group’s results for the 12 months ended 31st March, 2011


  • Group turnover UP 18.2% at £553.4m (2010: £468.3m)
  • Profit before tax (excluding exceptional items) UP 19.3% to £141.5m (2010: £118.6m)
  • Shareholders’ earnings (excluding exceptional items) UP 20.1% to £65.0m (2010: £54.1m)
  • Dividend UP 16.1% to 27p (2010: 23.25p)


  • The Famous Grouse grows by 4% with premium expressions contributing 8% growth
  • The Macallan grows by 14% to over 700,000 cases
  • Brugal consolidates position as number one rum in Spain and grows into other markets
  • Cutty Sark adds one million cases of sales to the Group in first full year of ownership
  • Highland Park grows by 9%


China and Hong Kong distribution companies become part of the Group. Edrington directly controls eight distribution companies.


William A. Robertson formed a partnership with John W. Baxter in 1861 to create the business that would evolve into the present day Edrington Group. 150 years later the Group has 2,300 employees mostly based overseas.

Commenting on the results, Ian Curle, chief executive, said today:
The Group continues to make good progress and we have further improved Edrington’s strategic position and business performance during 2010/11. 

The strategic position of the Group was enhanced with the acquisition of the Cutty Sark brand and by taking ownership of the Maxxium distribution companies in China and Hong Kong.

Our strong financial performance was supported by brand growth, increased earnings and improved cash flow. 

Profit before tax (pre-exceptionals) of £141.5m has grown by 19% in the current year and by 95% over the last three years (from £72.6m).
Shareholders’ earnings (pre-exceptionals) have grown similarly, by 20% in the current year and by 76% over the last three years. This is prior to exceptional earnings, which further enhance these figures. 

Brand growth has been driven by increased investment and improved economic conditions in many of our markets.   We have continued to invest behind our premium brands despite the difficult trading conditions in mature markets in recent years. This investment is now paying off as we see stability returning to many western markets.  In the current year we have experienced growth in the USA and UK, however, this has been offset by declines in Greece and Spain. 

In Asia our business has continued to grow steadily and we are experiencing positive developments in Russia and a number of emerging territories. 

During the year we made significant investments in our operational assets in both Scotland and the Dominican Republic.  We also continued to lay down substantial whisky stocks to enable the long term growth of our brands. 

Our strategy is focussed on the long term development of Edrington and it can be summarised as follows:

  • Invest in our premium spirits portfolio:
    • Our premium spirits portfolio comprises The Macallan, The Famous Grouse, Brugal, Cutty Sark and Highland Park. Investment is targeted on brand equity growth and is focussed in the markets where we anticipate the greatest opportunity for long term growth. Brand initiatives are focussed strongly on the consumer and sustained with programmes that innovate within our categories.
  • Invest and develop our Route to Market:
    • We operate a number of Route to Market models, depending on the best fit for our brands in each marketplace.  In recent years, we have increased the number of markets where we have full ownership, however, joint ventures and third party arrangements still play an important part of our Route to Market model.     
  • Invest in our people and align our resources to support our brand growth.
    • With the addition of Hong Kong and China we now employ over 2,300 people worldwide.  This has increased the talent available to Edrington and provides us with an opportunity to future growth.  A consequence of the international development of The Group is that our operating model has become more decentralised leading to more of our key decisions makers being located in our key markets.


The Famous Grouse brand grew by 4% during the year with the premium expressions contributing 8% growth. The Black Grouse continued to spearhead the brand’s premium development with sales growth of 21%.
 The overall strong performance was driven by brand share growth in the UK and resilient performances in the USA and major European markets. Although at an early stage of development, the brand continues to make progress in emerging markets, with Russia a notable highlight.

The Macallan continues its impressive performance on all fronts.  Our leading luxury malt whisky brand grew by 14%, selling over 700,000 cases.  This growth has been achieved at premium prices as we continue to invest behind the brand. Asian markets represent over 50% of brand sales and our rate of growth in the USA market has increased as the economy improves.  The brand has been supported with the launch of premium expressions, including the third Lalique crystal decanter and the Masters of Photography Edition featuring the world renowned photographer Albert Watson (...)

The acquisition of Cutty Sark added a further one million case brand to our premium spirits portfolio and strengthened our distribution presence in southern Europe and the USA. 

The acquisition was earnings positive in the first year allowing further investment behind the brand this year as we reveal new packaging and introduce the brand to new markets. 

The Highland Park brand grew its contribution by 9% as we continue to invest behind the brand.  The renowned quality of this whisky is matched by the range of awards it receives. We remain committed to growing the premium range of the brand which was enhanced by the launch of the 50 year old this year.

Route to Market
The strategic position of the Group has improved with further investment in Route to Market.  On 1st April, 2011 we took ownership of the Maxxium distribution companies in China and Hong Kong.  Asia has been an area of significant growth for Edrington over the last number of years and we now own distribution companies in Taiwan, China, Hong Kong and South Korea.  The business operates from a regional office in Shanghai and we now employ over 280 people in Asia. 

This decentralised approach has been extended to the Nordics where we now manage Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland and Austria from our Stockholm office.  The Nordic markets are of particular importance to The Famous Grouse and Highland Park where they represent 14% and 13% of contribution respectively.

The Group is currently in the process of opening a regional office in New York to support brand growth in America.  The primary focus is the North American premium spirits market where our brands have significant potential and the market continues to grow.  The team will also oversee South America and identify opportunities for the development of our brands as this region continues to enjoy economic growth. 

Edrington’s regional offices now include Shanghai, New York, Madrid, Stockholm and Santo Domingo.

The ongoing success and growth of the Group is due to the talent and endeavour of our employees.  As Edrington has grown in recent years we have benefited from the skills and cultural diversity of our newer employees.   We will seek to develop these skills and harness the potential of all employees as we continue to grow the business.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our employees for their ongoing commitment and dedication.

02 Jul 11

Whisky industry bosses hail Asian trade agreements

THE Scotch whisky industry expects a significant boost to future sales after yesterday securing a crucial double shot of "geographical protection" in India and South Korea.

The free trade agreement between the European Union and South Korea, which comes into force today, which also removes import duty on EU goods, was heralded as a "major milestone" by the whisky industry.

At the same time, consumers in India will now receive better protection from fake Scotch whisky following a decision to formally recognise the Scottish import as a product that can only be made in Scotland.

Authorities in India, a top 10 export market for the sector, have granted an application by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) for the spirit to be protected as a "geographical indication of origin".

Gavin Hewitt, chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association, said: "India is one of our priority markets. There is a huge demand for Scotch whisky from discerning Indian consumers. It is important that they have confidence in the quality and integrity of what they are buying."

Last year 40.1 million 70cl bottles of Scotch whisky were exported to India, an increase of 40% on 2009.

Meanwhile, South Korea is the world's sixth-largest importer of Scotch whisky by value, and last year accounted for about £153 million of the industry's annual sales. Whisky is also UK's largest export to Korea and it is by far the biggest imported spirits category in the country.

The SWA said that under the free trade agreement South Korea's 20% import duty will now be phased out over three years – creating a "level playing field" in the country – with the Scotch whisky sector expected to be one of the biggest beneficiaries.

The industry body described the agreement as the "most ambitious trade deal" negotiated by the EU and the first with an Asian country.

The agreement provides legal protection in South Korea for products with "geographical indications", including Scotch Whisky.

Martin Bell, the SWA's deputy director for Asia Pacific and WTO, said: "Despite Korea already being a key market for Scotch, its performance over the years has been impeded by the high tariff and other trade barriers in a market where the domestic spirit, soju, has a 97% market share.

"The free trade agreement gives distillers a significant boost."

29 Jun 11

Ian Macleod Distillers Buys A Second Distillery – Speyside's Tamdhu

Edinburgh: Ian Macleod Distillers, the independent, family-owned distiller, blender and bottler has purchased Tamdhu distillery in Speyside from the Edrington Group.

Established in 1897, Tamdhu's distillation capacity of four million litres of alcohol per year will support the continued growth of Ian Macleod's existing brands, including Isle of Skye, Lang's and the King Robert II blends. The Tamdhu Single Malt brand is also included in the sale, and Ian Macleod Distillers plans to significantly develop its sales both within the UK and abroad.

Leonard Russell, Managing Director of Ian Macleod Distillers, said: "Having purchased Glengoyne Distillery from Edrington in 2003, we are delighted to be acquiring a second distillery from them, safe in the knowledge that it has been maintained to a very high standard and comes with a reputation for producing exceptional quality single malt.

"I am also pleased that we will be securing and creating new local employment during these uncertain economic times. We are looking forward to developing the Tamdhu single malt following our successful growth of Glengoyne".

Ian Curle, Chief Executive of The Edrington Group, said: "The Edrington Group is delighted to complete the sale of Tamdhu to Ian Macleod Distillers. Edrington and Ian Macleod have a good relationship stretching back many years, and we know the Tamdhu Distillery and brand will be in good hands. From Edrington's perspective, the sale will further de-complex our business, allowing us to continue to focus on the growth of our five key brands, The Famous Grouse, The Macallan, Brugal, Cutty Sark and Highland Park."

Since purchasing Glengoyne distillery in 2003, Ian Macleod Distillers has more than doubled sales of Glengoyne Single Malt. Ian Macleod has built four additional maturation warehouses, capable of housing up to 5 million litres and has invested in the visitor experience with renovations and improvements increasing visitor numbers to nearly 50,000.

The Glengoyne brand is currently promoting a new long-term marketing initiative based on the fact that Glengoyne is 'distilled more slowly than any other Scotch Whisky for the highest quality' and is investing upwards of £1 million in the UK drive alone over the next two years.

Ian Macleod Distillers recently announced improved financial results for the eighth consecutive year, with group turnover increasing 22% to £31.9 million in 2010. The purchase of Tamdhu Distillery was concluded on 28 June for an undisclosed sum.

28 Jun 11

Diageo $15m distillery spend
By Doug Newhouse,

Diageo has submitted a planning application to Moray Council for a £9.5m ($15.1m) redevelopment of Diageo's Speyside Dailuaine distillery complex in Scotland, as consultations with residents begin this week.

The new proposal would see an upgrade of the existing bio-plant at Dailuaine, which deals with whisky by-products from a number of Diageo's distilleries, opening the potential for future production capacity increases across Speyside.

Diageo, which runs more Scotch whisky distilleries than any other company, is also developing a series of proposals which would follow the Dailuaine proposal to increase production capacity at existing distilleries by over 10m litres per annum over the next two to three years.

The drinks company says this would be equivalent to building a major new distillery with an investment of around £10m ($15.9m). It adds that the details of these plans are still being developed and will be rolled out gradually over the next two to three years, subject to the relevant planning processes.

Announcing the plan, Diageo's Malt Distilling Director Brian Higgs, said: "Scotch whisky has never been more popular around the world. In recent years we have been able to translate that into significant capital investments in our operations as we build our capacity to meet the global growth potential of Scotch.

"Speyside is already at the heart of our malt distilling operations and I am delighted that, beginning with the Dailuaine proposal, we are looking at further enhancing our business in this area."

Bryan Donaghey, Managing Director of Diageo Scotland, said the announcement was the latest in a significant ongoing Scotland-wide investment in Scotch.

He said: "Over the past six financial years Diageo has invested around £600 million ($957.1m) in its business in Scotland, including our new £40 million ($63.8m) distillery at Roseisle in Speyside which we opened last year. This announcement is another demonstration of our confidence in and commitment to the future of Scotland and Scotch."

Diageo is also investing in Scotch whisky growth outside of the Speyside area. This year will also see a £3.2m ($5.1m) capital investment in increasing capacity at the Glen Ord distillery near Inverness.

Earlier this year, Diageo announced a £3.5m ($5.5m) investment in increasing capacity at its Caol Ila distillery in Islay.

28 Jun 11

The Glenlivet targets market leader through digital
By Gemma Charles,

The Glenlivet, the world's second biggest-selling single malt whisky is increasing its investment in digital as part of a plan to challenge market leader Glenfiddich.

Brand owner Pernod Ricard has appointed digital agency Grand Union to drive consumer engagement online.

The Glenlivet will roll out a Facebook page next week to encourage conversations about the brand.

The brand's website will be relaunched later this year, bringing its eCRM programme, 'The guardians of The Glenlivet', in line with its main site.

The aim is to increase membership of the scheme, which stands at 14,000 people.

25 Jun 11

Whisky war Cost of tipple topples
By Kelly Gregor

Katey Rudlin, part-owner of the Whisky Shop on Auckland's Elliot Street. Photo / Paul Estcourt
It's a good time to be a whisky lover. Prices of top brands have been falling as the New Zealand dollar rises and parallel importers stock up.

The Mill is selling a Glenlivet single malt which has been aged 12 years for under $50. Other brands are less than half price.

The Whisky Shop in downtown Auckland says some of the prices are cheaper than it can import the whisky for.

Whisky Shop owner Katey Rudlin said the brands sold at most liquor stores were more mainstream compared to rare brands stocked in her store, from countries as diverse as India, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

"The Mill buys surplus stock [of mainstream labels] from China and India, so they can get competitive deals. They sell for less than we can buy them at a wholesale price. It's good for the consumer but we can't compete on that level."

Rudlin said she crunched margins as much as possible, but a lot of the bottles sold at the store appealed to collectors and drinkers looking for rarer "more interesting" labels.

The Whisky Shop has more than 500 bottles, some as expensive as $10,000, and is targeted to a more niche market.

Rudlin said price fluctuates due to availability and currency and the deal a retailer can cut.

The Whisky Shop also sells to bars around Auckland and imports about 65 to 70 per cent of its bottles.

The Mill general manager Simon Templeton said there were many factors driving the price of whisky down, apart from the dollar. Asia was awash with whisky after bulk ordering during the global financial crisis.

"Generally we buy our whisky from overseas, so not from New Zealand distributors. We parallel import most of our whiskies. At the moment, especially with single malt, there has been a worldwide oversupply.

"The reason for this is, when the GFC hit, it seriously hurt the volume [being bought] compared to the amount suppliers had produced.

"People started to cut back. Just as people did in other categories, they started to say okay, we won't buy premier products. That created a worldwide oversupply. "Because we trade globally, we have been able to source our single malts from Asia, where there is a huge glut."

Templeton said retailers were taking advantage of the growth potential within the category as more 35-50 year olds were starting to drink the spirit. "Anecdotally, people don't just want to drink bourbon and Coke, vodka and Red Bull, people are looking for an experience and single malt is all about quality over quantity."

18 Jun 11

More Celebrations at Kilchoman
Today Kilchoman distillery celebrates the launch of the 100% Islay Inaugural release, the distillery is closed to the public for the day to allow all management and staff with their guests to enjoy the big day .

Everyone at the distillery has been working very hard to bottle the following two releases -

Limited edition release Inaugural 100% Islay - 50 % - £69.00, to buy online now ( please expect delays with delivery)

Limited Edition Iaugural 100% Islay , presented in a hand crafted american white oak presentation box cask strenght 61.3%, only 1060 bottles are available from the distillery only. £149.00.

Online orders will experince some delays but we will keep all customers updated.

14 Jun 11


The world's only exclusively prestige Scotch whisky range, Royal Salute, has crafted a blend so rare that only one man in the world has tasted it – creator and Master Blender, Colin Scott.

'Tribute to Honour' has been introduced to pay homage to the oldest crown jewels of the British Isles: The Honours of Scotland. The narrative of the Honours comprises glorious legends and intrigue and remains a powerful and inscrutable ode to Scottish history. Royal Salute Tribute to Honour marks a historical pinnacle in whisky making.

The most exquisite, precious and scarce whiskies used to create Tribute To Honour, have been carefully selected from the Royal Salute Vault at Strathisla. Expertly blended by Colin Scott, just 21 bottles of Tribute to Honour have been created and also mark the pinnacle of Colin's 21 years of expertise in blending.

Explains Colin, "Chivas Brothers has a phenomenal archive of high-aged whiskies, some of which, after decades of careful maturation, have acquired a rich intensity and deep concentration of sumptuous characters. It is these very few whiskies which I have personally selected to compose Tribute To Honour – this opulent and rarest of blends."

Fittingly, only the finest aged whiskies – at least 45 years old – are presented in the spectacular bejeweled bottle, dressed by Garrard in flawless diamonds and shimmering gold.

As the world's oldest jeweller to royalty Garrard has embellished the Royal Salute Tribute to Honour flagon - hand cast and perfected, black porcelain – with 413 flawless white and black diamonds. Some of these exquisite jewels form the shape of the Sword of State: one of the trilogy of treasures that are The Honours of Scotland. Set in gold and silver, 22 carats of gemstone adorn the decorative collar and stunning flagon's visage. Golden lions sit either side of the diamond encrusted sword.

Craftsman at Garrard have spent days perfecting each flagon by hand. The prestigious jeweller has served six successive British monarchs and pays tribute to the ancient Scottish Sword of State as its landmark.

Each flagon of Royal Salute Tribute to Honour will be available from September 2011. The bottles are individually numbered and priced at US$200,000 excluding taxes. One of the 21 bottles will be kept in the Royal Salute Vault.

Application for purchase should be directed to

09 Jun 11 Replacement Distillery Manager

The Glenglassaugh Distillery Company is pleased to announce that as of 1st July 2011 two new roles will be created to replace the current Distillery Manager role.
Mhairi McDonald has been appointed to the new role of Production Manager  and will be responsible for all activities from raw material to final spirit production. Mhairi is currently working as trainee manager at Glenglassaugh and has a first class honours degree in Brewing and Distilling from Heriot-Watt University where she also picked up a number of prizes for her outstanding work. She has previous experience of working with Diageo and Chase Distillery and also previously worked with us in a temporary marketing role.
The new Maturation Manager, responsible for all filling operations and looking after the maturing stock will be Graeme Morrison. Graeme has been with us since we purchased the distillery and his previous experience includes being in charge of the large Chivas filling store operation in Keith.
We would like to wish them both well in their new roles.

01 Jun 11

Glen Garioch launches peated whisky bottled before distillery was moth-balled

Glen Garioch, Scotland's most easterly distillery, has unveiled its latest small batch vintage expression, the Glen Garioch 1994.

The limited edition, only the third special addition to the Glen Garioch single malt range, was laid down just before the distillery was mothballed for two years in 1995, making this one of the last opportunities to sample old Glen Garioch's smoky Highland essence.

With only 1000 8.4L cases available globally and just 75 in the UK, this exclusive dram is aimed fairly and squarely at discerning whisky connoisseurs and will be on shelf ahead of Father's Day.

John Mullen, Glen Garioch brand manager, said: "Glen Garioch is an enduring spirit with more than 200 years of provenance. This vintage is one of the last to capture the old Glen Garioch smoky peat notes and has been hand-picked at the peak of its perfection.

"Our aim with all our limited edition expressions is to show the real quality of the liquid. Glen Garioch may be a small artisan distillery but it produces some of the finest single malts which stand up well against the big guns.

"With a feisty cask strength 53.9% ABV, this edition to the range holds true to the warmth and charm of our Highland heritage. It's the epitome of Glen Garioch's genuine, couthie spirit."

The peated malt is old Glen Garioch at its finest, combining subtle smoke with fresh Highland floral aromas and toffee and Demerara sugar.

Patiently matured in North American Oak barrels and non chill filtered, this unique single malt is also one of the last Glen Gariochs to feature barley malted on site in their malt barns. Glen Garioch stopped using peat and their own maltings when the distillery re-opened in 1997 making this a rare vintage for single malt fans.

With its proud Doric history, the Aberdeenshire malt captures the enduring and couthie spirit of the Highlands town of Oldmeldrum.

The small batch limited edition releases incorporate the old style Glen Garioch to enhance the premium range. Vintages are only selected when it is felt they have reached the peak of their perfection.

Mullen added: "With only 75 cases available in the UK, and based on the success of our two previous small batch releases, whisky enthusiasts will need to be quick out of the blocks. Likewise anyone looking to wow their dad on June 19th."

At 53.9% ABV, Glen Garioch 1994 is available from specialist wine and spirit merchants, retailing circa £59.99. It is distributed by Cellar Trends in the UK.

01 Jun 11 The new Ardbeg Alligator for the committee has just been released (10,000 bottles) at £55
25 May 11

Work starts on 'whisky' power plant

Construction is due to get under way on a £60.5 million biomass plant which is set to use whisky by-products to drastically reduce Scotland's carbon emissions.

The combined heat and power plant in Rothes, Speyside, will use distillery by-products to generate enough electricity to power 9,000 homes and produce animal feed.

The biomass plant is believed to be the first of its kind in the world.

It will generate 7.2 megawatts of electricity - most for export to the national grid - and will also produce an animal feed in the form of pot syrup.

Helius CoRDe Ltd - a joint venture between energy firm Helius Energy Plc, the Combination of Rothes Distillers, and project equity company Rabo Project Equity BV - is behind the plant.

The project will create around 100 jobs during construction and there will be approximately 20 full-time posts available when the plant becomes fully operational in 2013. It is estimated that it will save 46,642 of CO2 emissions.

Gavin Hewitt, chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), will mark the start of construction at Helius CoRDe.

He said: "This project underlines the Scotch Whisky industry's commitment to investing in the future. In 2009 the industry made a commitment to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels as a source of energy. The project shows how we can create a virtuous circle within the Scotch Whisky production process."

Frank Burns, managing director of Helius CoRDe, said: "This innovative project demonstrates how Scotch Whisky by-products can be put to good use to provide a big boost to the environment and ensure there are new sources of energy available for future generations.

"It also shows distillers working together, and in partnership with third-party expertise, for the future benefit of the entire industry."

08 May 11

Limburg Whisky Fair 10th Anniversary bottling
;Laphroaig 1990-2011, 20 years, 52.1%, Ex-Bourbon, Price: 119,- €
Glen Elgin 1985-2011, 25 years, 44.7%, Ex-Bourbon, Price: 119,- €
Caol Ila 1981-2011, 30 years, 51.6%, Ex-Bourbon, Price: 125,- €
Inchgower 1975-2011, 35 years, 41.9%, Ex-Bourbon, Price: 149,- €
Glen Keith 1970-2011, 40 years, 51.8%, Ex-Bourbon, Price: 189,- €
Bunnahabhain 1965-2011, 45 years, 40.4%, Ex-Bourbon Hogshead, Price: 239,- €

- Company undertakes not to pass off products as genuine Scotch -
The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has welcomed undertakings from Reynald & Sons Ltd and
its sole director, Reynald Grattagliano, that they will not engage in activities that might pass
off a spirit as Scotch Whisky when it is not.
The undertakings follow an SWA action in the Scottish Court of Session. This is the first time
legal action has been taken in Scotland using the Scotch Whisky Regulations 2009, which now
regulate the making, bottling and labelling of Scotch Whisky.
The SWA took action against Reynald & Sons Ltd and Mr Grattagliano to prevent them selling or
advertising spirits in a way that falsely suggests that they are Scotch Whisky. This followed
their advertising of fourteen brands of 'whisky', including Golden Dollar, Sir Edwins, and
Paddington, each bearing the name 'Scottish Spirits', in a manner that suggested the products
were genuine Scotch Whisky.
SWA investigations found that the spirits were manufactured in Panama and consisted of
unaged neutral alcohol and flavourings. The brands were bottled by Scottish Spirits Ltd, a
Panamanian company.
The action has now been settled, with Reynald & Sons Ltd and Mr Grattagliano providing
undertakings that they will not engage in any conduct that is likely to lead to a spirit which is
not Scotch Whisky being passed off as Scotch Whisky.
Lindesay Low, Legal Advisor at The Scotch Whisky Association, said:
"We are pleased that we have received undertakings preventing any conduct that is likely to
lead to a spirit which is not Scotch Whisky being passed off as genuine Scotch. Our concern has
been that this company was misleading consumers and unfairly trading on Scotch Whisky's
reputation. This is the first time the new Scotch Whisky Regulations have been used in Scotland,
providing the highest levels of protection for consumers and Scotch Whisky."
05 May 11

Diageo and Pernod Ricard both beat forecasts today with strong sales growth in the first three months of 2011.

The world's biggest spirits makers Diageo and Pernod Ricard beat forecasts today with strong sales growth in the first three months of 2011 as buoyant emerging market growth offset a weak Europe.
Both gained from growth in Asia, Latin America and Africa and gradual recovery in North America which helped to offset weakness in Europe, hit hard by tough economic conditions in Greece, Ireland and Spain.
The figures mark a continued improvement in trade, which picked up in 2010 after suffering throughout most of 2009 when the global downturn prompted consumers to move to cheaper drinks and wholesalers to use up stocks rather than make new orders.
World number one spirits group Diageo, the maker of Guinness, Smirnoff vodka and Johnnie Walker whisky, said that underlying sales rose 7% for the months between January and March, beating forecasts.
French rival and world number Pernod, which makes Jameson whiskey, Absolut vodka and Martell cognac, reported quarterly underlying sales up 5%, well ahead of the 2.5% predicted.
Both reaffirmed their targets for the current year. Diageo said it was looking to beat last year's operating profit rise of 2% for the year to the end of June 2011 and Pernod said it was aiming for an annual profit rise close to 7%.
Diageo chief executive Paul Walsh said although trading in Europe was challenging, North American consumer trends were improving and its emerging markets were driven by the strength of its scotch whiskies especially around the Chinese New Year.
Pernod chief executive Pierre Pringuet said the group recorded strong sales growth of 15% in emerging markets and saw flat sales in mature markets during the quarter. Source:

05 May 11


Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard is today launching two new single pot still* whiskey brand extensions as part of its initiative to celebrate the provenance and quality of this unique Irish whiskey style, and to showcase the diverse flavour spectrum of the reinvigorated Irish whiskey category.

Powers and Midleton will join Redbreast and Green Spot as brand names in a formidable new portfolio of single pot still Irish whiskeys emanating exclusively from the multi-award winning Midleton Distillery in Co. Cork. The company has also announced a whiskey development programme with the aim of creating and releasing regular new expressions of single pot still Irish Whiskey across its brand portfolio each year.

"Single pot still Irish whiskey is truly the jewel in the crown of Ireland's rich whiskey tradition; a tradition which we have carefully nurtured over the years at the Midleton Distillery" said Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard Chairman and Chief Executive, Alex Ricard. "There has been tremendous interest in single pot still Irish whiskey in recent times so this is the perfect opportunity to rejuvenate and restore this exceptional whiskey style to its former glory. By adding the prestigious Powers and Midleton brand names to our range of single pot still Irish whiskeys, we will offer more flavour variety and create even more inter est among whiskey enthusiasts and aficionados worldwide."

Powers John's Lane Release honours the silent distillery and spiritual home of the Powers brand at John's Lane in Dublin. This new expression features a distillate which is true to the pot still style of the original distillery and bears the distinctive honey and spice style that made Powers famous. Bearing a 12 year old age statement, the whiskey has been matured in first fill bourbon barrels with a contribution of whiskey which has been matured in Oloroso sherry butts.

The first ongoing single pot still Irish whiskey to carry the Midleton name – Midleton Barry Crockett Legacy – pays tribute to celebrated second generation Master Distiller who, more than anyone, has shaped with the world-famous Midleton style. Representing Barry Crockett's personal selection of first fill bourbon whiskeys with the inspired inclusion of whiskey which has matured in unseasoned American barrels, this expression displays a distinctive pot still complexity yet is refined and poised on the finish.

Both Redbreast and Green Spot benefited from the introduction of upgraded packaging in April 2011. The elegant presentation of both the Powers John's Lane Release and Midleton Barry Crockett Legacy, similarly reflect the growing stature of the Irish Distillers' growing single pot still portfolio.

All four brands will also bear the Single Pot Still whiskeys of Midleton quality mark on the back label in order to communicate the unique provenance and heritage of the distillery and of these exceptional whiskeys.

15 Apr 11

'Is this the whisky revolution?'
In Venezuela, China and India, drinkers can't get enough

Rory Carroll, Tania Branigan, Maseeh Rahman
The Guardian,

The Scotch Whisky Experience visitor attraction in Edinburgh. Photograph: David Cheskin/PA

Venezuela produces some of the Caribbean's best rum, but go to any bar, party or beach and you see that the national drink is imported Scotch whisky. Invariably served with lots of ice, it outsells other liquors by a ratio of about two to one, making Venezuela one of the world's biggest markets.

Ask Venezuelans why a tropical country in the midst of a socialist revolution should drink so much – more than 3m boxes a year – and the answer is simple: because we like it, and we can.

It has been thus for decades since oil turned this corner of south America into a dysfunctional petro-state which can afford to import luxury cars – Ferraris and Hummers bounce over Caracas potholes – and other symbols of wealth and status.

While the super-rich sip 18-year-old blends on yachts off Margarita island, the poor opt for cheaper brands, which you find passed around at family dinners, roadside bars and domino games.

"Ever since I can remember whisky was the thing. Rum is for when you can't afford the good stuff," says Freddy Afanador, 62, the driver of a battered taxi. Tequila, vodka and gin are exotic curiosities that tend to gather dust on liquor-store shelves.

President Hugo Chavez has assailed his compatriots' taste for alcohol in general and imported Scotch in particular. "Is this the whisky revolution?" he once thundered.

Whisky sales are growing fast across the region of Latin America, especially Brazil, making it one of the most important markets.

Rory Carroll


For Yang Chen, the appeal is simple: "The smell of charcoal, smoke and fruit and strong flavour are enough to attract any man. Life goes very fast nowadays, and it is a great pleasure to sit down and enjoy a whisky slowly," he observes.

The 45-year-old executive is exactly the kind of customer the Scotch Whisky Association is wooing: he usually drinks Chivas Regal or Johnny Walker, but says he is always willing to try something new.

The Chinese market for Scotch is worth £80m a year – around 2.5% of global sales – but the association predicts it will double in the next five years. Ministers recently signed a deal to improve legal protections for the brand.

Jim Boyce, whose Beijing Boyce blog covers the capital's drinks and bar scene, says that for many Chinese customers the appeal is "the cachet of spending big, trying something rare and showing your status. But I've been to tastings where people are really interested. You have people who appreciate baijiu [Chinese liquor]; it's not a huge leap to learning about malts from different parts of Scotland."

Not everyone back home in the Highlands is happy about this growing thirst, however. "I've been in touch with aficionados in Scotland who are afraid China will get into it in a big way and buy everything up. Production is not that big," Boyce says.

Tania Branigan


In the hit 1984 ITV series Jewel in the Crown, set in the dying days of the British Raj, a minor maharani screams on tasting a single malt gifted to her by Charles Dance – she thinks he's trying to poison her. Though the British introduced Indians to the drink, what passed for whisky in India until barely a decade ago was mostly locally-produced alchohol distilled from molasses – amber-coloured rum, actually.

"There's been a huge change since the early 2000s," says whisky expert Sandeep Aurora. "Until then, the idea of whisky was one big blotch. People were ignorant about the different kinds of whisky. When I first introduced rare whiskies at appreciations, people would ask, 'Are you sure it hasn't gone bad after 30 years?' Now there's a very high understanding – people are fascinated by the depth and character of the drink, whether it's rare, single malt or blended scotch whisky."

So much so that even the gender barrier has fallen. In the past, at parties women had to be content with pink and green cocktails – or a vodka, at best. No longer. And last month Aurora helped open India's first women's whisky club. "We already have 56 members, and 38 more want to join," she says.

Many of the new scotch connoisseurs, no doubt, are from the new rich created by the economic boom. Import of liquor is also easier now, though the tariffs remain very high. But as the recent experience of Outlook editor Vinod Mehta showed, all this high-value quaffing doesn't go down well with the masses, still surviving on cheap molasses liquor.

When Mehta recently wrote that he had drunk Blue Label whisky for the first time at writer Khushwant Singh's 96th birthday, so many readers protested that he promised it would remain a "once-in-a-lifetime indulgence".

But for India's elite, genuine and good whisky has now become a lifelong passion.

Maseeh Rahman

15 Apr 11

How the world fell in love with whisky
Its soaring popularity has turned scotch into a multi-billion pound global phenonomenon

Jon Henley
The Guardian,
So one day not so long ago, says Neil Urquhart, a man walks into the shop. Gordon & MacPhail's on South Street in Elgin, in Moray, opened in 1895. A temple in the world of malt whisky. More than 1,000 varieties, pretty much every scotch currently available in Britain, plus some that aren't, at least not anywhere else.

Anyway, says Urquhart, who was working in the shop at the time, the fourth generation of his family to join the firm, this chap walked in, more or less off the street: "He knew what he wanted, mostly. A specific Ardbeg, an older Macallan. I steered him a wee bit for the others. He bought four bottles of whisky. For £20,000. He was Taiwanese."

Connoisseurs will come in here, says David, a third generation Urquhart, standing in said shop – a solid, reassuring sort of place in a solid, reassuring sort of town at the top of Speyside, home to half of Scotland's 100-plus whisky distilleries – and every month, some of them will drop £5,000. "Nothing," he says, "surprises me any more."

It would, I think, be hard not to spend money here, if you have it and you like whisky. There are your staples, naturally, your Glenfiddich 12-year-old (the best-selling single malt in the world), your Laphroaig 10, your Glenlivets (the biggest in America, and world number two) and Lagavulins, your Taliskers, Glenmorangies and Cardhus, mostly around the £25-50 mark.

There are more unusual whiskies, from distilleries you very probably have never heard of: Caol Ila, Mortlach, Auchentoshan, BenRiach, Pulteney. There are single-cask bottlings, taken from (as the name implies) one, rather than – as is customary – multiple casks from the same distillery, "vatted" together and married. There are powerful cask-strength bottlings. There are exotic finishes, when a whisky has spent a bit of time in a barrel that once held port, madeira, rum or Italian red wine.

There are bottles at £200, £350, £400. There's also a 55-year-old Dalmore, for £7,700. And on a pedestal in the middle of the room, with a price tag saying £13,000, there's a bottle of 1940 Gordon & MacPhail Glenlivet, one of only two 70-year-old Scotches on the market (the other was a Mortlach 70 the company launched last year; at just £10,000 a bottle, it sold out within a fortnight.)

There are, it seems, plenty of people who have money, and who like whisky. Not least outside Scotland: according to the Scotch Whisky Association, its members sold enough of the amber nectar last year to add a heartwarming £3.45bn to the value of UK exports – 10% more than 2009, and 60% more than a decade ago: every second, £109 of Scotch whisky is sold.

Scotch has become a multi-billion pound, global phenomenon. A whole world of its own, of books, magazines (Whisky Magazine, Whisky Passion, Malt Advocate), websites (dozens of them, from maltmadness to whisky- intelligence, spiritofislay to whiskywhiskywhisky), of festivals from Speyside to San Francisco, Stockholm to Singapore. Names such as Dramfest, Whiskygalore, Maltstock.

Its own experts, too: maltheads, whisky geeks. They rival anything the wine world has to offer by way of rarefied prose: the Malt Whisky Yearbook describes Ardbeg as "soft peat, carbolic soap and Arbroath smokies . . . with a touch of liquorice", and Glenlivet as "freshly chopped apple, rhubarb and gooseberries". Talisker is "grilled oily fish in lemon oil"; Benromach "wet grass, butter, ginger and brittle toffee" followed by "lemon custard creams, apricots and pine table polish".

And there are bars that specialise in nothing but. In Craigellachie, a few miles south of Elgin, Duncan Elphick, genial proprietor of the Highlander Inn, and his expert (if somewhat unlikely) whisky manager, Tatsuya Minagawa, offer 280 different whiskies by the nip, plus a menu of six-snort Tasting Trays with names such as Highland and Islands, The Balvenie Vertical Flight, Some Great 18-Year-Olds, Aperitif Malts and The Ultimate Tour of Scotland (at £136).

"People come here," says Minagawa, who himself came to Scotland from Japan years ago now, "from everywhere. Absolutely everywhere. Aye." (He really does say "Aye".) "Scots, obviously, and English. Also Germans, Dutch, French. Scandinavians, hugely knowledgeable. Americans, lots; Canadians. Japanese. Taiwanese, now. And places you don't expect. There was a Czech guy in the other week, knew more about Scotch than most Scots."

All a long way, really, from the small stone cairn at Upper Drummin, in the hills above the valleys of the rivers Avon and Livet, which marks the spot where in 1824 one George Smith built the distillery that's now widely considered the cradle of the modern industry (though not by everybody. Age and tradition are valuable commodities in single malt-land; the longer and better your backstory, often, the bigger your sales).

At any rate, Smith, third of seven children, banged in an application to build a distillery within months of the 1823 Excise Act that made the whole business legal. "It's safe to assume he learned it from his farmer father and grandfather," says Ian Logan, an international brand ambassador for Glenlivet, now owned by French drinks giant Pernod-Ricard.

For the full article. click here:

13 Apr 11

Fortune Brands to concentrate on liquor business
LORETTO, KY.— The Associated Press
A slimmed-down Fortune Brands Inc. FO-N plans to pour money into marketing its liquor brands like Jim Beam and Maker's Mark as it prepares to become a standalone spirits company.

A top executive said it is also keeping an eye out for possible acquisitions as the conglomerate sheds units that make Titleist golf balls and Moen faucets.

The world's fourth-largest premium spirits business is spinning off its home and security business, which also includes MasterBrand cabinets, to shareholders. Fortune's golf business will be either spun off or sold.

That leaves its spirits business, which generates annual revenue of $2.5-billion (U.S.) and also includes brands such as Canadian Club whisky and Sauza tequila.

"We will be set up as a stand-alone business that has got the financial strength, the cash flow and the balance sheet to ensure we keep investing appropriately and seizing opportunities as they come our way," said Matthew J. Shattock, president and chief executive officer of Beam Global Spirits & Wine, the spirits subsidiary of Deerfield, Ill.-based Fortune Brands.

Fortune Brands expects to shed the two businesses by late this year, he said.

The commitment to its spirits business comes amid signs of a rebound in U.S. liquor sales at bars and restaurants, Mr. Shattock said in a phone interview. That crucial segment, known in the industry as on-premise, took a big hit during the recession, as fewer people ventured out to drink.

"It's certainly not back to where it was prerecession, but there are enough signs and enough anecdotal evidence that the on-premise is making its way back," Mr. Shattock said.

Fortune's bourbon segment, led by Jim Beam and Maker's Mark, will be at the forefront of the company's increased marketing and product development, he said.

"Bourbon sits front and centre as being the most important category we operate in, and the one that will be the first core for our investment going forward."

Maker's Mark, the premium bourbon recognizable by its red wax seal, is in the midst of an expansion at its picturesque distillery near Loretto in central Kentucky.

The expansion, costing tens of millions of dollars, will increase production by nearly 50 per cent and significantly boost bottling capacity and warehouse storage. The brand surpassed one million cases bottled for the first time in 2010.

Rob Samuels, who is taking the helm of the brand started by his grandparents in the 1950s, projects near double-digit yearly growth for Maker's Mark in the coming decade. The brand could surpass two million cases a year late this decade, he said.

Mr. Samuels is taking charge of the brand with the retirement this week of his father, Bill Samuels Jr., who oversaw Maker's Mark for 35 years.

Last year, Maker's Mark introduced its first new product – Maker's 46 – a close cousin of the original but with a different aging method in the final weeks to give the whisky a distinct taste.

Jim Beam soon will roll out a new high-end product called Jim Beam Devil's Cut. It features liquid whisky extracted from the aging-barrel wood itself that is blended with six-year-old Jim Beam bourbon.

Investing in its existing brands remains the top priority, but the company is keeping an eye on possible acquisitions, Mr. Shattock said.

"If we see incremental opportunities which make sense, we will seize upon those," he said.

Fortune Brands recently acquired the Skinnygirl spirits brand of low-calorie, premixed cocktails.

Fortune Brands added 11 of its top 15 brands in the past six years, since its acquisition of the Allied Domecq brands, which doubled Fortune's size.

In that time, international sales have gone from accounting for 25 per cent to about 45 per cent of spirits revenue. Maker's and Courvoisier Cognac were among the brands purchased from Allied.

"We still believe we have lots of opportunity to grow our brands and our markets around the world," Mr. Shattock said.

10 Apr 11

Rocking the Scotch A taste too far?

In a remarkable turn up for the books, Donnie Blair, arch-critic of the Scotch whisky establishment is to be given a platform at the World Whisky Congress in Glasgow this week in a speech called "Why Scotch has failed Scotland".

This is strong stuff for this normally uncontroversial gathering, attended by Scotch enthusiasts and industry big cheeses from around the world.

As regular readers will know, Blair, who has considerable experience at the sharp end of the whisky-selling operation in foreign fields, has dared to suggest the claims of the SWA about the performance of Scotland's most famous export are over-blown, and for the sake of the Scottish economy should be a lot better.

A details and stats-enthusiast, Blair will be coming to this normally sedate gathering armed with the graphs and stats that demand a more substantial response than the SWA or the Scottish civil service and quangocracy has so far provided.

Scotch's perennial problem will be encapsulated at the same conference by analyst Chris Brook-Carter in a session entitled "Meeting the Challenges of Whisky Innovation".

Because whisky is whisky, however you package it, how do you create the novelty that young drinkers crave?

Look no further than Stirling's VC2, current heir of the Bridge of Allan and Stirling Breweries, for whom innovation is a speciality and which is thriving on concoctions that whisky buffs would not have in the house: Jaffa Cake and Cola-flavoured vodkas (Stiffys), strawberry cream vodka-based liqueur (Paris Rose) and coffee-flavoured beers.

VC2 has increased turnover this year from £1.8 million to £3m, via expanding exports and retail tie-ups. Whatever the taste questions, VC2 is exporting 20% of its output to countries including ireland, Israel, Australia and Singapore, with listings secured in foreign retailers, wholesalers and bar chains.

07 Apr 11


'Single Pot Still Whiskeys of Midleton'

Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard has announced plans to underline the rich heritage of Irish whiskey with the launch of a new initiative - Single Pot Still Whiskeys of Midleton. Aimed at promoting consistent communication on the provenance and quality of single pot still whiskey*, the launch heralds an increase in investment in Irish Distillers' existing portfolio, ahead of a planned roll out of innovative extensions later in the year. Additionally, the initiative marks the adoption by the industry of new terminology for this unique style of whiskey – moving from 'Pure Pot Still' to 'Single Pot Still'.

Improved packaging for Redbreast and Green Spot, from April 2011, is set to enhance the portfolio and better reflect its super-premium positioning, while the inclusion of the Single Pot Still Whiskeys of Midleton quality mark on the back label of each expression will communicate the provenance message to consumers globally.

Global Category Development Director for Irish whiskey at Irish Distillers, Brendan Buckley, said: "Single Pot Still whiskey was once the world's most popular style of whiskey. Today, although used as a key component in many of our well known Irish blends, Redbreast and Green Spot are the only remaining single pot still whiskey brands available on a global commercial basis. Our aim is to nurture these brands and to help safeguard the history and heritage of single pot still whiskey on behalf of the Irish whiskey industry.

"This initiative symbolises a new chapter for pot still Irish whiskey, and signals renewed energy in the category. In partnership with our global distributors, we will be investing behind these brands with the clear intention of restoring our unique whiskey style to its former glory. We are confident that through this initiative, the Irish whiskey category will benefit, as more and more consumers continue to discover this exceptional style of whiskey".

The enhanced Redbreast range retains its distinctive shaped bottle, label and logo, with additional elements such as a wood cut illustration of a pot still, printed on copper foil and, by way of explaining the origin of the name of Redbreast, a robin motif. A strong point of reference for consumers, the descriptor 'single pot still Irish whiskey' is given a clear presence on the front label. A colour code has also been introduced with burgundy distinguishing Redbreast 12 Year Old from the green Redbreast 15 Year Old. Gift cartons for both expressions have also benefited from a considerable upgrade with heavier carton stock and the use of emboss and copper foil devices, adding to the range's super-premium cues.

Irish Distillers lesser known single pot still whiskey brand, Green Spot has received a transformational makeover. Originally produced exclusively for the Mitchell family in Dublin in the 1800s**, Green Spot's traditional green bottle is replaced with a stylish clear glass bottle with higher shoulders, a shorter neck and an enlarged base offering the perfect backdrop for the striking new label. A contemporary canister, which features an image of a cask marked with a green spot, is set to increase the gift appeal of this celebrated limited release expression.

Single Pot Still whiskey is unique to Ireland, and in particular Midleton, Co. Cork. Made from a mash of malted and unmalted barley that is then triple distilled in traditional copper pot stills, this style of whiskey is renowned for its full, complex flavours and smooth, creamy mouth feel.

06 Apr 11

Spectroscopy Applied to Detection of Fake Whisky

Researchers from the University of Leicester's Space Research Centre (Leicester, United Kingdom) have collaborated with De Montfort University (Leicester, United Kingdom) to identify fake whisky and wine, through the bottle, using spectroscopy. The team has adapted technology originally used to analyze the characteristics of light reflected from printed packaging to develop a handheld device that can detect counterfeit liquids.

Using a spectrometer originally designed for the Space Research Centre, the team developed the technology to detect counterfeit medicines, and hopes to apply the technology to detecting counterfeit liquids. In addition to benefiting whisky and wine lovers, the ability to successfully identify liquids through the bottle could be a great advantage for airline security systems.

The team plans to "design, build, and test a laboratory prototype that will allow us to prove the technology works," said Tim Maskell, Knowledge Transfer Manager in the Space Research Centre at the University of Leicester, in a statement. "If we can then take the technology and do something similar with other liquids, there are potential airport security opportunities, too."


06 Apr 11

Diageo dispenses with 'lead agency' approach
Gemma Charles,,

Diageo is overhauling the way in which it works with its marketing agencies.

At a recent seminar organised by Diageo, and attended by agencies spanning all marketing disciplines, Diageo GB marketing director Philip Gladman unveiled plans to abolish the concept of a 'lead agency'.

Diageo will switch to a system under which the agency with the 'best idea' will be responsible for leading the brief, regardless of the discipline.

A source said: 'Diageo now expects agencies to work collaboratively. There is quite a lot of change going on in terms of the way it wants to manage its relationships.'

Diageo's procurement team has also been reviewing its roster so that it better reflects the modern marketing mix, including disciplines such as social media.

Bryony Stickells, head of digital at Diageo, had previously hinted at the fresh approach. Earlier this year, she told Marketing: 'You have to start with the consumer - who they are, where they engage with a brand and what they want to engage with. Then consider what channels suit the brand.'

Diageo declined to comment on the changes.

The shift in agency approach follows last year's restructuring of Diageo's global marketing department in favour of a more category-led approach. The rejig created two new global category director roles, one covering vodka, gin and rums and the other whisky.

In August, Latin America and Caribbean marketing and innovation director Edward Pilkington became global category director for vodka, gin and rums, while David Gates, previously global brand director for Johnnie Walker, took the whisky role.

In February, Diageo, which owns the Guinness and Smir-noff brands, reported a 2% global rise in profits for the second half of 2010, on the back of a 10% increase in marketing spend.

06 Apr 11


Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard is celebrating the success of its premium whiskey portfolio after achieving four Double Gold and one Gold medal at the internationally renowned San Francisco World Spirit Competition (SFWSC) 2011.

Jameson Rarest Vintage Reserve, the most luxurious whiskey in the Jameson family, picked up a Double Gold in the Blended Irish Whiskey category, while Jameson 12 Year Old Special Reserve won Gold.

Redbreast, the highly acclaimed single pot still whiskey also created at the Midleton Distillery, Co. Cork, won Double Gold for both its 12 Year Old and 15 Year Old expressions.

Powers 12 Year Old, the premium edition of Powers Gold Label, one of Ireland's favourite whiskeys, also picked up a Double Gold medal.

Speaking about the company's success, CEO and Chairman of Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard, Alex Ricard says: "To achieve five top awards at this prestigious competition is a huge honour and testament to the skill and dedication of our master distillers at the Midleton Distillery. As owners of Jameson, the world's leading Irish whiskey, we are continuing to invest in this fast-growing category and these awards will only help to build further consumer advocacy around the world."

A record number of entries were submitted to the 11th annual SFWSC with 1106 products from 61 countries. Entries were evaluated by a panel of 33 industry heavyweight judges including experts from noted restaurants, well-known spirits journalists, spirits buyers, and spirits consultants. Judging was based on a blind, consensual procedure ensuring competitive integrity, making the competition one of the most reputable and recognised competition in the spirits industry.

05 Apr 11

Tipple is untoppled: whisky a hit despite recession

Women dance and drink whisky.
Recession or no recession, drinkers of Scotch whisky all over the world enjoyed their favourite tipple last year. According to figures released by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), sales rose in almost every export market including France, despite the excellence of French cognac, and fell only in Venezuela, Spain and Greece.

In South Africa we make our own whisky, which connoisseurs pronounce excellent. But in spite of that, total shipments to Africa rose by 41 percent to £213 million (R2.3 billion) and, according to the SWA, "exports to South Africa account for nearly 80 percent of shipments to the region. Scotch whisky enjoyed another good year in South Africa, with shipments up by 56 percent to £169 million."

We were in fifth place in the top 10 export markets, behind the US, France, Spain and Singapore. According to the SWA, last year was a record one for Scotch whisky exports, contributing £109 a second to the UK's foreign exchange earnings.

Global exports increased for the sixth consecutive year and are now 60 percent higher in value than in 2000.

And despite the recession, whisky drinkers piled into the premium brands.

Exports of single malt whiskies, from individual distilleries in the Scottish Highlands, increased by 18 percent to £57m and blended whiskies by 5 percent to £2.6bn.

A while ago when the balance of trade between the UK and Japan was drastically skewed in the favour of the Japanese, a senior official was asked if there was not just one UK product that his country wanted more of. "Yes," he replied. "We love your whisky very much."

Inspired by this, maybe we should redouble our efforts to increase the exports of our own premium wines and liqueurs, which are already our most successful agricultural exports, or invent a superb new drink altogether.

04 Apr 11 Germans bid to become the world leaders in whisky production
By Kathryn Quinn
GERMAN booze firms are gearing up for a showdown with Scottish whisky makers as they bid to become the world's number one producers of Scotch.
Whisky lovers have praised German attempts to recreate single malt whisky, but it is set to create a major row with Scottish producers.
Master distiller Cornelia Bohn makes her malt, called Prussian whisky, in Schonermark, Brandenburg.
She told German news magazine Der Spiegel: "My whisky will reflect the open spaces and rolling hills of my countryside. It will be a polarising whisky and it won't be everyone's darling."
Bohn belongs to a group of around 40 malt-whisky makers in Germany - the most prominent of which are the Slyrs distillery in Bavaria and the Spreewald Brewery in Brandenburg.
The Sloupisti single malt from the Spreewald Brewery was awarded top marks by UK whisky critic Jim Murray.
He included it in the "superstar whiskies that give us all a reason to live" section of the 2010 edition of his Whisky Bible.
The Germans hope to beat Japan into second place in whisky making within a decade, then move on to toppling Scotland.
Just 100,000 bottles of malt were produced in Germany in 2010 - nothing compared with the output in Scotland. But it is just the beginning, say the German distillers.
In Austria, distillers are also attempting to steal Scotland's whisky crown.
The Waldviertler Roggenhof distillery and Whisky Experience World in Austria last year attracted 75,000 visitors - more than the Glenfiddich Distillery.
04 Apr 11

Pernod Ricard Group Sells Its Minority Shareholding in Suntory Holdings Limited for a Cash Consideration of 4.66 Billion Yen

Pernod Ricard Group (Paris: RI) announces the sale of its minority shareholding in Suntory Holdings Limited (circ. 1%). The shareholding has been bought back by Suntory Holdings Limited for a cash consideration of 4.66 billion Yen (circ. 40m Euros), which has been received on April 4th, 2011.

The sale of the shareholding does not change the close relationship between the two groups and the ongoing development of their joint business in Japan, which continues to distribute certain Pernod Ricard brands, principally Ballantine's, Beefeater, Kahlua and Malibu.


BenRiach and GlenDronach are two of seven independent Scottish distilleries collaborating to produce a unique whisky and donate all proceeds to the disaster relief effort in Japan.

Each of the seven distilleries, representing the best craft producers in the Scotch whisky business, is donating a cask of its single malt that will be expertly blended to create a limited edition whisky, appropriately called The Spirit of Unity.

The seven are Arran, BenRiach, Bladnoch, GlenDronach, GlenGyle, Kilchoman and Springbank. For whisky fans, they represent acclaimed malt whisky regions - in Islands, Speyside, Highland, Islay, Campbeltown and Lowland.

The seven casks will be vatted, blended and bottled at BenRiach's Newbridge production facility, with Master Blender Billy Walker overseeing the operation. The bottles will then be despatched from Newbridge for worldwide distribution.

The connections between the malt whisky industry and Japan are strong as few consumers are as passionate about malt whisky as the Japanese and it has been major export market for many years.

The combined contribution will produce approximately 2,000 bottles with 1,200 available in the UK. The remainder will be shipped to Japan with some being donated for sale in New Zealand to assist with relief in the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquake. It is expected that the release will be oversubscribed as soon as it is made available.

With the support of suppliers and partners, including retailers, a conservative estimate is that at least £50,000 will be donated to the relief effort.

The producers will offer the limited bottling available through two leading online whisky retailers - Royal Mile Whiskies and Loch Fyne Whiskies - and in their respective shops in Edinburgh, London and Inveraray.

Not a penny of profit will be taken from the project by any of the parties involved, with the packaging being donated free of charge by Chesapeake Branded Packaging.

The Spirit of Unity will be available in store and for despatch by the end of April, with details being posted on the websites of the distillers. Pre-orders at £59 per bottle (+p&p) are now being taken at and
01 Apr 11

- Exports increase by 10% to £3.45bn in 2010 -
2010 was a record year for Scotch Whisky exports, according to new figures published today by The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA). The performance confirmed Scotch Whisky as one of the UK's top exporting industries.
Global shipments were valued at £3.45bn, a 10% increase on 2009. Scotch Whisky exports have increased by 60% since the turn of the century, adding an extra £1.29bn in value.
Export value broke the £100 a second barrier for the first time, contributing an additional £10 every second to British exports compared to 2009 (£109 v. £99 a second).
The figures reflected continued premiumisation across the industry, with export value
increasing despite a marginal decrease in volume (-2% to the equivalent of 1.06bn 70cl bottles). Export volume in 2010 was 7% (or 72m extra bottles) higher than in 2000.
The SWA reported encouraging growth across different Scotch Whisky categories. Single Malt exports increased by 18% (to £577m) and bottled Blended Scotch Whisky shipments rose by 5% (to £2.6bn).
Eight of the top ten markets grew in value, with a strong performance in the USA (+19% to £499m) which remained Scotch's largest export market by value. The 'BRIC' markets continued to develop, with exports growing to Brazil (+12% to £67m), China (+24% to £55m), India (+46% to £41m) and Russia (+61% to £31m).
Gavin Hewitt, Chief Executive of the SWA, said:
"Scotch Whisky is a world class industry that consistently delivers for the UK. Global exports increased for the sixth consecutive year and are now 60% higher in value than in 2000. This year's strong performance – contributing £109 a second to UK exports - demonstrates that distillers are playing a key role in export-led recovery.

"To help distillers build on a successful 2010, the SWA continues to work hard to secure fair access to Scotch Whisky's export markets and better legal protection. We saw real progress on our trade agenda last year, including agreements for lower tariffs in South Korea and GI registration in China.
"This year we look to the successful conclusion of the EU-India free trade negotiations to deliver major improvements in the tariff and trading conditions for our members' brands in India, a market offering significant future potential."

01 Apr 11


Caol Ila Distillery, Islay

ISLAY'S famous whisky industry received a major boost with the announcement last week that Diageo, the world's leading premium drinks business, is to invest £3.5million in expanding and upgrading its Caol Ila distillery.
The distillery – which enjoys one of the most stunning locations in Scotland on the Sound of Islay and produces one of the island's iconic Scotch brands – will see its production capacity increased by 700,000 litres per year from 5.7 million litres per annum (mla) to 6.4mla.
The extension of the distillery will see two new 62,000 litre washbacks installed in addition to the eight which are already onsite. [Washbacks are the vessels in which the fermentation process takes place prior to distillation. ] It is the new washbacks that will drive the increased production capacity.
The refurbishment of the distillery will see key equipment upgraded, including the replacement of the distillery's mash tun – a crucial piece of equipment in the distillation process – and a new control system installed in the stillhouse. Caol Ila's six large onion-shaped copper stills, overlooking the Sound of Islay, are not part of the refurbishment project.
The investment is a major boost to local contractors who will benefit from work on the site as well as generating a knock-on financial benefit to the local economy from contractors who will have to be brought on to the island to carry out aspects of the work. The Caol Ila project builds on £3million which Diageo has already invested in upgrading and developing its Port Ellen Maltings on Islay over the past three years.

Six months closure

The refurbishment work is scheduled to take six months beginning in June, following the Islay Festival. The distillery will be closed to public tours for that period; however, the popular distillery shop will remain open to visitors.

Rolling investment programme

The project is part of Diageo's rolling programme of capital investment across its Scottish sites, amounting to £600 million over the past six fiscal years – as the company builds capacity to meet rising global demand for its world renowned Scotch whisky brands such as Johnnie Walker. This included the opening of the £40 million Roseisle distillery on Speyside last year – the first major malt whisky distillery to be built in Scotland in over 30 years.
Kevin Sutherland, Diageo's Senior Site Manager on Islay, welcomed the investment as a major boost to the island's whisky industry. He said:
"This is great news for Caol Ila and great news for Islay. An investment of this scale is fantastic for the local economy and it signals Diageo's deep-rooted commitment to the Islay whisky industry.
"Caol Ila is a wonderful distillery of which we are very proud and I am delighted we are going to be able to produce even more fantastic single malt as well as contributing to the growth of Johnnie Walker and Diageo's other leading global Scotch brands."

Bryan Donaghey, Managing Director of Diageo Scotland, said the expansion of Caol Ila was part of an overall programme of investment in the Scotch whisky industry by Diageo. He said:

"Over the past six years Diageo has made around £600 million in capital investment in Scotland, largely aimed at building our capacity to meet the growing demand for Scotch whisky around the world.
"Last year we opened our new £40 million distillery at Roseisle in Speyside and the expansion of Caol Ila demonstrates our commitment to another of Scotland's great whisky-making locations. The success and growth of our Islay distilleries is central to our ambitions for the Scotch whisky industry and demonstrates again our confidence in and commitment to the future of Scotland and Scotch."

24 Mar 11

Whisky - Under the Influence of Stars

Single malt is enjoyed by Hollywood stars, astronauts may reach for stars, drunks may even see them, now the greenest whisky ever made is distilled under the influence of stars.

The world’s first ever biodynamic whisky has been distilled at Bruichladdich Distillery from barley sown, grown and harvested according to an astral calendar.

Biodynamic Bruichladdich is über-organic, the barley being grown according to the controversial agricultural principles of the messianic Dr Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925).
Steiner, an Austrian philosopher, educationalist, spiritualist and lecturer, is considered the ‘Galileo of organic science’; to critics, he was just a cosmic nutter.

To counter the over-dependance on agrochemicals, Steiner set out an holistic approach to agriculture, where the farm unit becomes "biologically dynamic".

Steiner codified the 18th century farming ways, an accumulation of 8,000 years of agricultural know how, when Man was more in tune with earth’s natural cycles.

Farmers are guided by a cosmic calendar, where phases of the lunar and astral cycle indicate the ideal time for sowing, pruning or treating - not only the tides.
Whisky is an agricultural product and barley is key. Thanks to industrial production, the basic tenet - its provenance - has been lost. We have been busy working to reconnect it and this is the Holy Grail.

100% of our whisky comes from 28 farms - an unprecedented 50% of is grown on Islay, and 50% is organically grown on the mainland.

Biodynamics, what with astral calendars, nettle insecticides and cow horn fertilisers, sounds far too hippy and alternative. But there’s method to this madness: 

Stripped down, it’s essentially a modern farming creed based on ancient knowledge, know how that was lost when folk left the land for the cities.

We are very proud to have produced Biodynamic Bruichladdich, to be the first people to distil such an extra-ordinary spirit, and an Islay single malt at that. 

8 of the world’s 10 best wine makers  (Leflaive, Bize-Leroy, Romanee Conti, Zind Humbrecht etc. ) produce wines from biodynamically grown grapes.

23 Mar 11

- Disappointment at 59p a bottle excise duty rise -
- Distillers welcome corporation tax and fuel duty reductions -
The 7.2% increase in spirits duty will penalise Scotch Whisky drinkers and distillers, The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) said today.
The SWA has, however, welcomed the Chancellor's announcements on corporation tax, fuel duty and help for manufactured exports.
The excise duty rise increases the tax discrimination faced by Scotch Whisky and other spirit drinks. Today's Budget means that the duty on a bottle of Scotch – nearly 40% higher than the duty per unit on beer and 30% higher than wine – will rise by 59p (duty and VAT).
The increase, which comes on top of a 22% duty rise since 2008, has widened the tax gap with other alcoholic drinks.
Commenting on the excise duty rise, Gavin Hewitt, Scotch Whisky Association Chief Executive, said:
"Today's 59p a bottle tax rise unfairly penalises responsible whisky drinkers and a key UK industry. Our alcohol duty system does not meet the principles of good tax policy set out by the Chancellor. Alcohol duty reform is urgently needed. The system discriminates against Scotch Whisky in favour of other alcoholic drinks, undermining an industry that should be at the heart of the Chancellor's export led growth agenda."
On corporation tax and fuel duty, Mr Hewitt said:
"The changes promised to corporation tax and increased support for manufactured exports will allow distillers to invest for long term growth in overseas markets. Given that distilleries are often in remote rural communities the cut in fuel duty is very welcome."

Notes to editors:
Today's duty rise increases the duty on a 70cl bottle from £6.66 to £7.15. With VAT (20%) charged on that extra duty, the total tax uplift on each bottle is 59p. The current average price of a 70cl bottle of Blended Scotch Whisky in the UK is £11.27. Source:

16 Mar 11

Updates from Japanese distilleries: 16th March, 2011.

Suntory: (15.3.2011)

Yamazaki Distillery

Hakushu Distillery

Awaiting response from PR department.

Nikka: (15.3.2011)

Due to ongoing transport problems and power cuts, Nikka have not yet been able to carry out a comprehensive assessment at the Miyagikyo Distillery. Initial reports suggest that there has been no major damage however and they have confirmed that distillery staff and their families are unharmed.

The Yoichi Distillery has been unaffected.

Venture Whisky: (15.3.2011)

Ichiro Akuto says

"The Chichibu Distillery staff and their families are all okay. There has been no damage at the distillery to either cask stocks or distilling equipment and just some minor damage to bottled stock. We appreciate the concern from overseas."

Mercian: (16.3.2011)

Karuizawa Distillery

The Karuizawa Distillery was not damaged by the earthquake and the site has been operating (not distilling) since March 14th.

Kirin: (15.3.2011)

Fuji-Gotemba Distillery

Awaiting response from PR department.

Hombo Shuzo (16.3.2011)

Mars Distillery.

There have been many aftershocks in the Nagano area but so far the distillery, located in the Shinshu area, and the staff and their families, are all okay. After a break of 20 years, they are planning to produce whisky continuously from March 15th through to April 20th. They are grateful for everybody's concern and interest

09 Mar 11

Highland Park Leif Eriksson

Highland Park is preparing to unveil a new limited-edition single malt scotch whisky later this month. Named after Leif Eriksson, the special scotch is set to debut at the International Association of Airport Duty Free Stores (IAADFS) trade show later this month and will be exclusive to travel retail outlets.

The special bottling honors the first European to reach America. Legend has it that Leif Eriksson set out on his voyage from the Scottish Isle of Orkney, which sits in between Norway and Iceland (where Eriksson was born) and which serves as Highland Park's home.

Bottled at 40% ABV, the 700ml Highland Park Leif Eriksson will retail at $88 in the United States before being rolled out in markets around the world.

06 Mar 11

World Whiskies Awards winners



300 whiskies have battled over three tasting rounds for the coveted titles of the '2011 Best Whiskies in the World', with some surprising results; with Japanese distiller Suntory winning both the 'World's Best Single Malt' and 'World's Best Blend' categories, the first time that a single whisky producer has taken both titles. A win for Glenmorangie-owned James Martin's 30 Years Old in the blended malt category brought an end to the three-year reign of another Japanese whisky, Taketsuru 21 Years Old.

Three intensive rounds of blind tastings have taken place by Whisky Magazine's independent editorial panel drawn from the best journalists and retailers across the world, and also by industry representatives made up of master blenders, distillers and brand ambassadors in the final round. The winners of the '2011 World Whiskies Awards' were announced at a dinner at the Waldorf, Hilton Hotel, in London and were as follows:
World' Best Winner Brand
World's Best Whisky Liqueur Drambuie The Royal Legacy of 1745
World's Best Grain Whisky Greenore 15 years old
World's Best Blended Malt James Martin's 30 years old
World's Best Blended Whisky Hibiki 21 years old
World's Best North American Whisky Parker's Heritage Collection 10 years old Wheated Bourbon
World's Best Single Malt Whisky Yamazaki 1984

The World Whiskies Awards is the annual selection of the very best whiskies internationally. This year entries have been received from; Canada, France, India, Ireland, Japan, Scotland, South Africa, Sweden, USA and Wales. Categories are based upon the commonly held whisky groupings which define both the style and the process of whisky and whisky production: single malt, blended, blended malt, grain, American and whisky liqueurs. Organised by *Whisky Magazine, this annual competition selects, awards and promotes to consumers and trade the 'Best Whiskies in the World'.

The competition is open to **proprietary bottlings only, and is chaired by Dave Broom, contributing editor of Whisky Magazine and editor-in-chief of Whisky Magazine Japan, and exists to inform and educate consumers throughout the world about whisky. Categories are based upon the commonly held whisky groupings which define the style and process of whisky/whiskey production; malt whisky, blended whisky, blended malt whisky, American whiskey and whisky liqueurs.

Chairman of the judges, Dave Broom, commented: "The competition featured some eye-opening whiskies and the judging panel had a hard time separating the good from the very good. My congratulations go to the winners, the judges' exacting standards mean that the winners are truly the greatest whiskies in the world."

For the exhaustive list of results, click here:
28 Feb 11

First whiskey festival draws diverse crowd

The sound of bagpipes mixed in the air with the pungent fragrance of whiskey yesterday at the Grand InterContinental Hotel in Seoul.

This was "Whisky Live Seoul 2011," the first local stop of the international whiskey road show.

Yesterday morning, 1,200 participants started tasting and viewing expensive single malts and blends from nearly 50 whiskey brands. Glitzy and sleek booths displayed spirits that definitely skewed toward the high-end, ranging from 12 to 35 years old.

In terms of experience, yesterday's participants came from all over the spectrum.

"I'm a whiskey fan, and this is a great chance to try many brands of whiskey in one place," said Ahn Do-ik, a 30-something whiskey aficionado who claimed Laphroaig as his favorite brand. "This is the first time in Korea we've been given such a chance."

Kim Do-yeon, a woman from Jangan-dong, Seoul in her 30s, was not a whiskey drinker, but had come with her brother, who was. "This is different from the prevalent brands of whiskey my father used to drink," she said, holding a small plastic cup of Glenfiddich. "I've realized for the first time that whiskeys have fragrances."

Korea's whiskey market is substantial, with Korea being the sixth largest importer of Scotch whiskey in the world - with some $178 million of whiskey imported every year.

Seven decades after Koreans were introduced to whiskey, industry insiders from abroad noted that Korea's whiskey market has the right ingredients for growth. "[Koreans] drink a lot of whisky," said Damian Riley-Smith, the founder of both the Whisky Live festival and Whisky Magazine. "But you're drinking blended, quite low-value whiskies. What we're trying to do is convince you to drink slightly more special, expensive whiskies, and it's going to be easier as Scotch whiskey is part of your culture."

The first-ever whiskey festival in Korea also presented economic opportunities.

"Korea is Scotland's No. 1 market for premium and deluxe whiskey brands, and whiskey is also traditionally among the top five things that the U.K. exports to Korea by value," said Martin Uden, the British ambassador to Korea.

"The EU-Korea FTA will also benefit [the whiskey trade] with tariffs eliminated after three years."

Experts agree that Korea's market is ripe for the entry of relatively unknown brands as well as a refined whiskey culture.

"It's only the first step toward a more refined whiskey culture taking root, but what I've seen seems promising," said Yoo Jae-kwang of the Korea Bartender Guild. "Whiskey has as much variety as wine, but the former has been associated with seedy environments in our culture, unlike the latter. It's time for us to enjoy whiskey as a culture, rather than knocking shots down."
By Lee Jung-yoon,

27 Feb 11

McTear's ready to toast record whisky sales
By Peter Ranscombe,

WHISKY auctioneer McTear's is predicting a record year for sales as it toasts the continued thirst for Scotland's national drink from American and Far East investors.
New figures show that Scotch sales grew by 32 per cent last year to £572,070, the highest-ever total for the Glasgow-based auction house.

Highlights from last year's auctions included a bottle of 50-year-old Glenfiddich selling for £10,600, a half-bottle of 1927 Springbank fetching £2,583 and a 1938 Macallan going for £1,820.

Managing director Brian Clements said: "Over the past few years, we've seen interest in our whisky auctions increase dramatically, as more and more investors at home and overseas turn to the amber nectar as a promising investment opportunity.

"Investors are looking primarily at rare bottlings of 'the big five' - Macallan, Bowmore, Highland Park, Springbank and Ardbeg.

"In recent years, investment returns on many of these bottles have proved to be more lucrative than a number of other, more traditional, sectors."

News of the record figures comes as McTear's hires Johnny Walker - director of wine and spirits at the Malmaison hotel chain - as its new head of whisky sales, and wine expert Stephen McGinty, who will run its drinks department. Walker will continue to work for Malmaison, as well as speaking at international drinks events.

Clements said: "Johnny is one of the most prominent figures in the world of wine and whisky and his skills are sought out by whisky and wine lovers across the globe. In addition to his whisky expertise, Johnny's experience and contacts in the wine industry will be important as we develop this side of the business over the coming year."

To capitalise on the growth of interest in Scotch, the company is also launching a series of regional tasting events in addition to its normal quarterly auctions.

The first will take place on Tuesday and will feature whisky from islands including Arran, Islay, Jura, Orkney, Mull and Skye.

Highlights include a 12-year-old bottle of Port Ellen single malt, valued at between £3,500 and £4,500.

McTear's 2010 figures form part of a busy year for the premium end of the whisky industry, with the world record for the highest-priced new release being broken twice in consecutive months.

In October, Whyte & Mackay launched its Dalmore Trinitas at £100,000 a bottle, only to be topped the following month when Macallan released a 64-year-old single malt in a crystal decanter, which sold at auction in New York for a whopping $460,000 (£288,000).

A spokesman for the Scottish Whisky Association, the trade body for distillers, said: "Collectors' interest in rare bottlings of Scotch whisky has risen over recent years.

"It is a niche but growing market, with specialist auctions increasingly being held in the UK, United States and Hong Kong."

25 Feb 11

Malt Advocate Awards

Malt Advocate Whisky Awards "Industry Leader of the Year": Glencairn Crystal

Malt Advocate Whisky Awards "Pioneer of the Year": David Perkins and High West

Malt Advocate Whisky Awards "World Whisky of the Year": Amrut Fusion

Malt Advocate Whisky Awards "Scotch Whisky Single Malt of the Year": Glenfarclas 40 year old

Malt Advocate Whisky Awards "Scotch Whisky Blend of the Year": Compass Box "Flaming Heart"

Malt Advocate Whisky Awards "Irish Whiskey of the Year": Redbreast 12 year old

Malt Advocate Whisky Awards "Canadian Whisky of the Year": Forty Creek Confederation Oak

Malt Advocate Whisky Awards "American Whiskey of the Year": Buffalo Trace Antique Collection (2010 Release)

Malt Advocate Whisky Awards "Artisan Whisky of the Year": Kilchoman (Summer 2010 Release)

Malt Advocate Whisky Awards "Artisan Whisky of the Year": Kilchoman (Summer 2010 Release)

25 Feb 11

40% increase in profits for maker of Glengoyne

IAN Macleod Distillers, the drinks-maker and bottler, has posted a 40% rise in profits on the back of increased demand for its products and "market polarisation" in northern Europe, the Gulf, the Far East and in its domestic market in the UK.

A 20% surge in export sales of Glengoyne, one of only a small number of unpeated single malt Scotch whiskies, had further contributed to another impressive year for the Broxburn-based company, which also produces McGilligan's Irish Whiskey, Trawler Rum, London Hill Gin and Isle of Skye whisky.

Overall, turnover rose 22% to £32 million last year. Pre-tax profits climbed to £3.1m, compared with £2.2m in 2009.

Leonard Russell, the managing director and the third generation to run the family-owned business, told The Herald: "I hate to use the word smug, but that's exactly what I feel. I'm feeling pretty good about last year's performance.

"The increases in profit and turnover were driven mostly by the fact the consumers have polarised, and we benefited from both ends of the market.

"At the top, of course, we have Glengoyne, which is doing particularly well, and at the other end, we supply a lot of private labels for supermarkets, which is also doing well.

"It's the middle market that is suffering, and we're not really in there."

Mr Russell also said that Ian Macleod's biggest markets remained in France, Germany and the UK, but the fastest growth had come from Asia – particularly India.

Last year, the company set up a 100%-owned Indian subsidiary, Ian Macleod Distillers India Private.

Mr Russell said: "India is a key growth market for us and this is an ideal time to establish a presence due to recent and expected changes in the customs and state- specific excise duty rates.

"The creation of this distribution company is an excellent springboard from which to establish our brands in India. It is something I have been personally striving to make happen and I believe it will lead to good growth opportunities for us."

The company last year also stuck up a relationship with Marshall Amps, one of the most recognised brands in popular music, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to promote its Smokehead Islay single malt. A forthcoming promotion is being planned with US rockers ZZ Top.

Mr Russell yesterday said the company had completed a £1.7m warehouse project at Glengoyne Distillery and this year it had invested £2.2m in stock to meet future

19 Feb 11

Springbank news:

Springbank Open Day

Thursday 19th May is the date for this year's open day. We will have two single casks to bottle on the day, I will get more information on the casks very soon. We will of course have Masterclasses with Frank, Gavin and Peter. The cost this year for the Masterclasses will be £15 and will include a glass.

Tastings in the Warehouse will also be part of the open day, at a cost of £5

which will include a discount voucher for Cadenhead Whisky Shop.

At set times throughout the day there will be free distillery tours for people who do not wish to participate in the Masterclasses.

Grant is again hosting a Cadenhead Tasting in the Tasting Room in the afternoon. The cost of tickets will be £20 and places will be limited.

We will also have food from Auntie Mo, Food from Argyll, Seafood from McMillan Smokehouse. A bar will be provided by Fyne Ales who will be joining us for the first time with some of their fine ales (of course).

John Brown will be there with his wood carvings - some nice new creations this year from John. The Blacksmith's Shop is setting up a stall to show off some of their metal art work and hopefully they will also bring along a wood burning stove that we can gather round if it's cold. Various other craft stalls will also be there.

Gavin's team will be preparing some half casks for sale as garden tubs, they also have some cask ends - do you fancy having your date of birth stencilled on one of these?

Music will be provided by local artistes.

We thought that this year we would have a BBQ and a tiny wee bonfire at about 6.30 pm, with maybe a Spooks tour round the warehouses. I know it will not be dark but we won't put the lights on so that you get really frightened. I believe there are lots of spiders in the warehouses away at the back in the dark bits so I won't be going in there!!!

Fyne Ales have agreed to stay with us for the BBQ at night and hopefully we will have some music too - maybe a piper in the warehouse to add to the atmosphere. If you're lucky you might even see some of the angels.

If you would like to book Masterclasses or the Cadenhead Tasting, let me know.

Society Golf Competition

We have teamed up with Machrihanish Dunes Golf Course to host a Society Golf Competition, to take place on Friday 20th May - a perfect follow up to our Open Day. We intend making this an annual event if it proves popular. Machrihanish Dunes have put together a very attractive package for Society Members as you will see in the attached flyer. If you are interested in taking
part in this event and in taking advantage of the special B & B rates offered by them, details of how to book are also in the flyer.

News from the distillery:

The Springbank boiler is now back in full working order after having a
complete overhaul and production for Springbank spirit is in now in full swing and willcontinue until the end of March . During April we will be malting and from early May through to mid July will be malting , mashing and distilling which will keep the whisky school pupils busy.

Frank has told me in confidence that the boiler is almost as old as him, hence

the complete overhaul. I have promised that I would not tell anyone this, but I know you won't tell anyone else.

Whisky School

The whisky school is starting on 16 May this year and will have eight terms of
one week each. There is only one place left for this year, week beginning 4 July, so a very busy time ahead for everyone involved in the Whisky School. Frank and Gavin are discussing the possibility of having another few terms of the Whisky School in the autumn of this year. If this comes to fruition I will certainly let you know.

Well that's about it for now, plenty to think about, and remember if you would like to order anything that's coming out let me know and I will make sure that your bottles are set aside for you.

Roll on Spring, we have a case of the SAD's and need some sunshine to make us feel a bit more lively.

We'll maybe have another wee competition soon to cheer us all up. Thinking caps on!!!

As usual, if you have anything you would like to comment on please feel free to do so, it's your Society and your Newsletter.


19 Feb 11

Whisky Liqueur for Single Malt Connoisseurs

Master of Malt have created a whisky liqueur for single malt Scotch whisky drinkers.

Master of Malt's ( Whisky liqueur is made exclusively with all-sherry matured, 10 year old single malt whisky from a very famous Speyside distillery. It is flavoured with many Christmassy spices including cinnamon and cloves, and two kinds of orange peel. The result is a rich and complex liqueur aimed at the discerning single malt whisky connoisseur.

Master of Malt's Sales Director, Ben Ellefsen, described the thinking behind the new venture: "We wanted to go against the grain and say "here's a liqueur that a whisky connoisseur can enjoy". Our new liqueur is made with all natural ingredients, based around an absolutely superb 10 year old Speyside single malt whisky, which was matured solely in sherry casks. The flavours we added were chosen to complement the Scotch, and bring it to a new level – this is in contrast to many of the mass-marketed liqueurs which use huge levels of sweetness and flavourings to hide the lack of complexity in the (often cheap, young, grain) whiskies they are based on."

"Our new whisky liqueur is delicious neat or in a Rusty Nail cocktail, but we heartily recommend you have it in an ice-filled tumbler, garnished with a freshly cut strip of orange zest…"

You can buy Master of Malt 10 Year Old Speyside Whisky Liqueur for £26.95 here:

17 Feb 11

MEMBERS of the European Parliament have been urged to vote in favour of a free trade agreement today that would remove South Korea's import duty on Scotch whisky.
South Korea slaps a 20 per cent tax on all imports of Scotch as part of efforts to protect soju, a home-grown spirit. Under the free trade agreement (FTA), the Asian country - the world's sixth-largest market for Scotch - will phase out import tariffs over the next three years.

Whisky sales in South Korea rose 43 per cent in the 11 months to the end of November to reach £140 million.

Scotch only accounts for 1 per cent of spirit sales in South Korea, with 97 per cent of the market dominated by soju. A spokesman for the Scotch Whisky Association said: "We've been working on this FTA in Brussels and Seoul for several years now and so we're delighted it is now going to a vote.

"South Korea is a very important market for both premium blended Scotch and malt whisky and the removal of import duty will benefit both large and small producers of whisky."

If the FTA is approved, then South Korea will also crack down on counterfeit Scotch.

Conservative MEP Struan Stevenson said: "We have seen from Scotch whisky sales in China that there is a strong demand for premium blends and quality single malts in the Far East.

"This is a brilliant bit of news for our most successful and biggest export industry. I urge all MEPs to back this agreement."

10 Feb 11

By David Jones
LONDON, Feb 10 (Reuters) - Diageo (DGE.L), the world's biggest spirits group, missed forecasts with a 9 percent rise in first-half earnings due to poor performance in debt-hit Greece, Ireland and Spain, sending its shares lower on Thursday.
The British maker of Smirnoff vodka, Johnnie Walker whisky and Guinness beer said sales in the last six months of 2010 fell 13 percent in those countries -- where it will look to trim costs and marketing -- with no early recovery seen in 2011.
A weak European performance weighed heavily as the group decided not to raise its annual profit target despite recovering emerging markets in Latin America, Africa and Asia, and signs of improvement in its biggest market, the United States.
Diageo shares fell 5 percent before trading off 4.4 percent at 1,198 pence by 1520 GMT to be the second-worst performer in the FTSE 100 index .FTSE, and dragging down rival Pernod Ricard (PERP.PA) 0.8 percent to 69.37 euros.
"A small miss; no substantive mention of cost saving or restructuring, unchanged and uninspiring guidance ... we regard this as a missed opportunity by Diageo," said analyst James Edwardes-Jones at broker Execution.
"A poor result with further hangovers to come," said analyst Martin Deboo at Investec Securities, adding the market had assumed there would be an upgrade to the full-year guidance.
Chief Executive Paul Walsh said the group had seen weak demand in Spain, Portugal, Greece and Ireland and needed to align its cost base and marketing spend to current conditions as these markets would take some time to recover.
"The global economic recovery is uneven with Europe weak....although a consumer recovery in Russia and Eastern Europe led to double digit percentage growth," Walsh said.
With signs of a gradual recovery in North America and growth in emerging markets, he said the momentum of the business was growing and marketing spend was raised 10 percent in support.

"I am very positive we will soon get back to high single digit percentage profit growth," Walsh said.

The European region produces nearly a third of the group's profit. Spain and Ireland are two of Diageo's three key markets in Europe along with Britain, which together make up around half of the group's European sales.
The London-based company left its annual profit target unchanged from the summer, when it said it was looking for higher growth in the year to June 2011 than the 2 percent rise in underlying operating profit in the year to June 2010.
The group posted earnings up 9 percent at 48.2 pence a share for the half-year to end-December, missing a consensus of 50.6 pence according to ThomsonReuters I/B/E/S, and a company-compiled consensus of 49.6 pence.
The half-year dividend rose 6 percent to 15.5 pence.
Diageo, which also makes Baileys liqueur, Captain Morgan rum and Tanqueray gin said underlying sales rose 4 percent in the half year and operating profits were only 2 percent ahead due largely to the big increase in marketing.
Many analysts had anticipated profit growth of around 4.7 percent for the full year, but Pablo Zuanic at Liberum Capital said a more realistic scenario may be for 2-3 percent.
Paris-based world No. 2 spirits group Pernod is targeting annual operating profit growth of 6 percent for its financial year. The Absolut vodka and Martell cognac group reports on Feb. 17 on its half year to end-December.
(Reporting by David Jones; Editing by Mike Nesbit and David Hulmes)

05 Feb 11

Scotch whisky makes US a Fortune
Fortune Brands, which makes Teachers blended whisky and Laphroaig single malt, reported a doubling in profits during 2010, to $496 million (£308m).
The US giant said it saw a good performance in Europe and double-digit sales growth in emerging markets during the year. Fortune's other brands include Ardmore single malt, Jim Beam bourbon and Courvoisier cognac.

In August, the group unveiled plans to sell off or float its golf equipment and security divisions, leaving it as a "pure-play" spirits business.

04 Feb 11

Illicit liquor manufacturing unit unearthed, six held
India Gazette
The Delhi Police Crime Branch has unearthed a manufacturing unit making illicit premium scotch whisky, a printing press where fake stickers and labels of various premium brands were printed and arrested six people with 156 liquor bottles.

Police received a tip-off about a man in a Toyota Corolla car who was to sell fake scotch whisky in Rohini's Sector-9.

'We laid a trap and apprehended him Jan 30. Vinod Dua, 45, is a resident of Lajpat Nagar. We recovered 60 bottles of fake Chivas Regal scotch whisky and 24 bottles of Johnny Walker Black Label from him,' a senior police officer said.

During interrogation, Dua told police that he had purchased it from his associate Sudhir Yadav, 36, a resident of Sarita Vihar who was later apprehended with 36 bottles of fake Johnny Walker Black Label whisky.

'Raids were conducted at Yadav's duplex flat from where he ran the manufacturing unit. From the flat, 24 illicit liquor bottles, a large number of empty bottles, liquor in three plastic cans, stickers and caps of various brands were recovered,' the officer said.

Yadav is a graduate and had earlier worked in a multinational bank. For the last three years, he has been running this unit from his flat in Sarita Vihar. He has earned huge profits and recently bought a new Hyundai Accent Car from his earnings.

Subsequently, Mohammad Nazim, 28, a resident of Nizamuddin, and Raju of Dakshinpuri, scrap dealers who provided empty bottles procured from restaurants and hotels, were held. They sold it to Yadav at Rs.150 per bottle.

Narender Chopra, 60, a resident of Geeta Colony, who provided fake caps of various brands and fake stickers and labels, and Sushil Mittal, 40, a resident of Uttam Nagar responsible for disposing off the illicit liquor at parties at farm houses at Rs.30,000, were also arrested later.

Yadav spent about Rs.7,200 to prepare 12 bottles of scotch whisky and to prepare it, he mixed Bagpiper with Signature in proportion of 75 percent and 25 percent, respectively, to prepare his brew. He sold it to Dua who further sold it to Mittal.

Vinod Dua was a property dealer till three years ago and when he suffered heavy loses, he joined Yadav's team. Chopra has been manufacturing counterfeit caps and stickers and labels for the last 15 years. Mittal works as a part time accountant and for the last three years is selling fake whisky to farm houses and individuals.

31 Jan 11

Swedish whisky maker eyes stock market listing

Sweden's Mackmyra Svensk Whisky has announced its plans to list on the stock market later this year, adding that it is now looking for a CFO to help accomplish the task.

"Distillery construction is going really well and we expect production to get underway this year. The construction is already higher than the treetops," Mackmyra founder and CEO Magnus Dandanell said in a statement on Sunday.

The company produced Sweden's first malt whisky 13 years ago in Valbo about 10 kilometres southwest of Gävle in eastern Sweden.

The company was established in 1999 and now produces the equivalent of 600,000 flasks of whisky each year.

The first years were devoted to small batches and many experiments to find the perfect Swedish malt whisky. By 2001, the brand had perfected two recipes: one elegant and fruity, the other with a distinctively Swedish smokiness.

Both are sold in Systembolaget, as well as duty-free shops and selected overseas markets.

"With the new distillery in operation, we will more than triple our production capacity, which is needed to launch our products outside the Nordic countries," said Dandanell

"In parallel, we have begun work on a project to finance the operation and construction of maturity stock volumes as needed."

Mackmyra currently offers innovative whiskey experiences through its award-winning Brukswhisky, the intimate Gravity Cask and its adventurous Mackmyra Whisky Tastings.

These take place at Fjäderholmarna off the coast of Nacka and Djurgården in Stockholm, Gävle, Gothenburg, Häckeberga Slott in Lund in southern Sweden, Karlstad in central Sweden, Högbo near Sandviken and Smögen in western Sweden, as well as the Valbo distillery.

In the coming years, the company will also offer its whiskys and whisky experiences outside the Nordic region.

"As part of our continued growth, we are also creating a dedicated role for Sweden's first whiskey CFO," said Dandarell.

The company had sales of about 100 million kronor ($15.44 million) last year and 45 employees, according to newspaper Dagens Industri on Monday.

The goal is to triple whiskey production and Dandarell hopes to raise several dozen million kronor from the offering, the report said.
Vivian Tse ( Source:

25 Jan 11

More women turning to whisky
Liverpool Daily Post
WOMEN are becoming increasingly fond of whisky, according to a survey.

More than one third (35%) would choose whisky over any other tipple, a study by supermarket giant Asda found.

Some 60% saw their love affair with whisky begin after developing a taste for the drink when their partner kept it about the house, the research found.

More than half the women questioned (52%) choose to drink whisky neat, suggesting they are embracing the connoisseur's approach to the drink.

Asda spirits buyer Chris Brooks said: "It's fantastic to see a drink which in the past has been so strongly associated with men being enjoyed by an entirely new demographic."

Women across the nation will raise a glass today to celebrate Burns Night.

16 jan 11

Colin Donald,
New figures from drinks industry analysts show sales of bourbon booming in the UK at the expense of Scotch whisky as consumers get a taste for "exotic" brown spirits.

Figures from International Wine and Spirits Research show bourbon sales in the UK rose by 25% between 2005 and 2009 and are forecast to increase by another 22% up to 2014. According to IWSR figures, bourbon sales are projected to reach 1.5 million nine-litre cases in the UK in four years.

If correct, the figures suggest demand for bourbon will grow twice as fast as other spirits categories up to 2014. The second-best performer is likely to be rum.

Scotch whisky, whose growing global sales are three times those of US whiskies combined, has seen a dramatic sales decline in the UK, its third-largest global market, prompting criticism of brand owners' marketing strategies, the largest of whom also own fast-growing bourbon, rum and white spirits brands.

IWSR says UK whisky sales slipped by 11% between 2005 and 2009, and will stay static at 6.5 million cases to 2014.

A spokesman for the Scotch Whisky Association declined to comment on the relative UK growth performances of spirit categories, but added: "The positive news is that Scotch whisky exports in the opposite direction across the Atlantic soared in 2010, with value to the USA up over 25% to the end of October, whilst the UK market also showed encouraging signs of growth."

Paul McLaughlin, the chief executive of public-private industry body Scotland Food & Drink, said: "I don't think this is a cause for concern because the key focus is on exports: the home market is not the be-all and end-all."

The new data follows an earlier Key Note report claiming Scotch whisky sales in the home market slumped by almost a quarter between 2005 and 2009. The figures were echoed by the SWA's own, which showed 4.2 million fewer litres of pure alcohol (LPA) of whisky were sold in the UK in 2009 than in 2005.

Other traditional brown spirits, such as brandy, are expected to fare even worse than Scotch. UK Cognac volumes have fallen by 13% since 2005 and are predicted to drop by another 8% to 2014, to 672 million cases.

16 Jan 11

The name of the next Ardbeg has just been released: Alligator. Alligator is the name given to the scale structure of the cask after charring. Details will follow once relased.

14 Jan 11

Have whisky, will travel
An Indian billionaire jetted into Christchurch to "hand-carry to Glasgow" three bottles of whisky.

The bottles of Mackinlay whisky were among three crates that remained from British explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton's 1907 Antarctic expedition.

They were found in ice under the floorboards of Shackleton's hut at Cape Royds on Ross Island near McMurdo Sound in 2007, and they have slowly thawed at the Canterbury Museum since August last year.

The bottles left Christchurch yesterday with Indian liquor baron Vijay Mallya, who owns the Whyte & Mackay company, which took over the Mackinlay distillery that produced the whisky more than a century ago.

Under an agreement with the Christchurch-based Antarctic Heritage Trust, he was to take the whisky back to Scotland to be scientifically analysed.

Mallya said it was a historic moment for the whisky industry.

"Never before has anyone had access to a bottle of whisky that's more than a century old and, more importantly, spent more than 100 years in a natural freezer under extreme conditions," he said.

Mallya flew to Christchurch to collect the whisky because he was reluctant to leave the bottle in a cargo hold.

"I decided to bring my private jet and pick it up myself and hand-carry it to Glasgow," he said.

The original recipe had been lost, but the trust said an attempt might be made to replicate it after the analysis.

Richard Paterson, Whyte & Mackay's master blender for more than 40 years, said he was keen to compare 19th-century distillation techniques with today's.

The age and strength of the whisky was unknown, he said.

The company had given Shackleton 25 cases of whisky, 12 of brandy and six of port.

"Only three cases are left, so they must have had a good time all the way down to Antarctica," Paterson said.

Mallya would not say whether he he or Paterson would have a wee dram.

"That's a private negotiation between Richard and me," he said.

"If he gets to taste it, then so do I."

14 Jan 11

Shackleton's Antarctic Whisky Headed to Scotland for Analysis

Three bottles of whiskey abandoned in Antarctica by British explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton more than a century ago will be sent to Scotland for scientific analysis, reports said Friday.

The bottles of Mackinlay's whisky were part of a cache recovered last year from beneath Shackleton's Antarctic hut, built in 1908 as part of his failed attempt to reach the South Pole, New Zealand Press Association (NZPA) reported.

It said the whisky would be sent to the Whyte & Mackay distillery in Scotland, which now owns the Mackinlay's brand, where it would be analyzed in an attempt to recreate the original recipe.

The wooden crate containing the whisky, marked British Antarctic Expedition 1907, was frozen solid in the minus 22 F (minus 30C) temperatures but the whisky in the bottles was still liquid.

Two more crates of whisky, along with two of brandy, were also discovered but they were left under the floorboard's of Shackleton's hut.

The whisky is believed to have been bottled in Scotland in 1896 or 1897, making it among the oldest in the world.

The Antarctic Heritage Trust shipped the crate to Canterbury Museum in Christchurch, where it was painstakingly thawed in controlled conditions, allowing historians to access the bottles inside.

NZPA said that under an agreement with the trust, Whyte & Mackay was entitled to three of the bottles, which had been taken from a crate containing 11, and they would begin their journey back to Scotland on Friday.

The crate originally held 12 bottles but one was missing when it was found, raising the possibility that a member of Shackleton's expedition had been helping himself in a bid to ward off the polar chill.

NZPA cited an Australian whisky expert who estimated the bottles could bring NZ$90,000 (US$69,000) each on the open market.

14 Jan 11

A whisky whirlwind for Aeolus

Knutsford engineering company Aeolus Technologies has been commissioned to install its whirlwind pipe-cleaning system at a new Glenmorangie whisky bottling plant in Livingston, Scotland.

The system uses a mini-whirlwind generated by compressed air to clear pipelines, and claims to recover significantly higher levels of residue than other methods.

Glenmorangie project engineer Julia Blair said: "We chose this technology as it not only minimises product waste but also means there is no mixing of products in our pipework, both of which are key with such a high-quality, high-value product."

The whirlwind system also claims to save water and waste.

13 Jan 11

Scottish Spirits Launched New Whisky in a Can!

Panama City-Panama Republic 10 Jan2010: Scottish Spirits Ltd, the leading whisky manufacturer and exporter to Latin America and Caribbean has announced the launch of their new whisky in a can of 330 ML.

The latest introduction, the first of its kind promises to uniquely refresh the
consumers with respect to convenience and availability. Scottish Spirits
Ltd has recently extended its services to India too.

The CEO Mr. Manish Panshal says, "We are really thrilled with our new
venture since its going to be a part of every lifestyle and occasion which
means an appreciable business growth. We are happy to come up with
something that will add value to our consumers."

The can made of Aluminum is going to be entirely recyclable, which is
indeed a good news. Light weight and portable, a 'Scottish spirit whisky'
in cans is going to be one of the hot picks for any outdoor activities.
The can of size 330 ml is perfect to share between 3 persons. Another
feature of this new introduction is it can be mixed with cola too. Source:

03 Jan 11

Scottish Spirits Ltd extended its operation in India in the name of Scottish Spirits PVT. Our Head Office for Indian operation is at Mumbai. Scottish Spirits PVT is the sole India importer for Scottish Spirits LTD, which specializes in manufacturing and distributing Scotch Whisky worldwide.

India is the world's largest Whisky market with over 90 million cases consumption. Scottish Spirits is sure to have an enormous rise in the number of sales here in India since it has an appreciable number of Scotch enthusiasts. The estimate is expected to have rise to about 5 million cases per year from 1 million by 2014.

CEO, Mr.Manish Panshal, is in charge of the INDIAN operations. He admits the fact that introducing the most wanted brand through the right channel to its fans is a hard job and the focus is right now to find the right distributors.

Previous News
P.Brossard ©2011. All rights reserved.

About this site

Whisky ?



Tasting notes





Whisky Clubs

Other Links